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Sunday 21 September 2014

'We were told he was hiding next door to us'

Greg Harkin

Published 21/04/2013 | 05:00

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AN Irishman has spoken of the 'terrifying' moment he realised a Boston bomb suspect was hiding out in a next door neighbour's garden.

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Carpenter Brendan Toye, 33, yesterday recalled how Boston police Swat teams grabbed him and his family from their new home in Watertown on Friday night.

Mr Toye, from Carrigart in Co Donegal, has been living in the States for the past 10 years.

He lives at 66 Franklin Street. Bomb suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, 19, lay wounded hidden in a boat parked at the rear of No 67. He was later seized by police.

But until police knocked on his front door at 6.20pm Eastern Time on Friday evening, Brendan thought the man wanted for the Boston marathon bombings was on the other side of the city.

"The lockdown was lifted a while earlier and we had been watching the television, thinking he was in the area somewhere but miles from here," the Co Donegal man told the Sunday Independent.

"The last thing we expected was to get a knock on the door saying he was next door to us."

A police officer dressed in bullet-proof uniform and helmet took the Toye's nine-month-old son from Brendan's arms and told him and his wife Lori to move immediately.

"We had been inside all day. We just had time to pull on our shoes.

"The police officer just said 'have you been watching the news' and when I said 'yes' he told me that they believed they had the suspect hiding in a boat in the garden next door.

"I was a bit shook up and my wife was absolutely terrified. We just ran up the street and neighbours brought us inside."

Brendan was spending last night staying with friends from Leitrim.

The area around the boat where the suspect was detained remains sealed off.

Just 15 minutes after being evacuated he said he heard the explosions from flash bomb devices used by police to stun the suspect.

Some time later he heard applause from the street outside and went out to see what was happening.

"I saw the suspect being taken into an ambulance. He was covered in bandages and he was moving at that stage so I knew he wasn't dead. There were loud loud cheers from everyone," he said.

The Toyes moved into the house in January – and haven't yet met their neighbours from No 67.

"There is a huge Irish community in Watertown. It's home from home and this sort of commotion is something that doesn't happen here. It's something I'd only ever see on TV before this.

"It has been a mad week in Boston, from hearing the news of the bombs last Monday on the radio when I was at work until Friday night."

He said people were angry that "two people welcomed into this country as refugees would come and do this here."

Brendan added: "I'm just glad the suspect is in custody where he can't do any more harm to innocent people. You can't come into somebody's country and behave like that."

Irish Independent

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