The everyday hero who discovered the Boston Marathon bomber hiding in a boat in his backyard has died. He was 70.
David Henneberry, who brought the manhunt that gripped a nation to an end with his 911 call, died of cancer on Wednesday at his home in Watertown, Massachusetts.
Though Henneberry long downplayed his quick thinking in alerting police as the normal response of a concerned citizen, his actions on April 19, 2013 played a pivotal role in the events of that unforgettable day.
It was four days after two homemade bombs had ripped through the crowds at the finish line of the Boston Marathon, killing three and injuring hundreds.
David Henneberry, who brought the manhunt that gripped a nation to an end with his 911 call, died of cancer on Wednesday. He is seen in 2013 with wife Beth, who preceded him in death
Three were killed and more than 260 others wounded when two bombs planted near the Boston Marathon finish line exploded on April 15, 2013, spraying shrapnel into the crowds
Shootout: This is the suburban shootout in which Tamerlan Tsarnaev killed and his brother and fellow bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev managed to escape in a stolen car
Police had killed Tamerlan Tsarnaev in a fierce shootout in suburban Watertown on April 18, but his brother Dzhokhar Tsarnaev escaped with injuries, running over Tamerlan’s body in a stolen car as he fled.
A massive manhunt unfolded, with residents under orders to stay inside as thousands of police supported by helicopters and armored tactical vehicles swarmed 20 blocks of the normally quiet Boston suburb.
After a full day of fruitless searching, the shelter-in-place order was lifted on the evening of April 19, and Henneberry noticed the winter tarp had fallen out of place on the boat in his backyard.
He went out back to fix it, and as he was securing the tarp he noticed blood, and saw a figure hunched inside the boat, The Slipaway II.
Henneberry rushed inside and exclaimed to his wife Beth: ‘He’s in the boat! He’s in our boat!’
Henneberry had stepped outside his home (pictured) shortly after the stay-inside order had been lifted, when he noticed something amiss with his boat
Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was hiding inside the boat, The Slipaway II, still alive despite his injuries. He is seen here surrendering after a manhunt and tense standoff that gripped the nation
The retired technician called 911 immediately and explained what he’d seen.
‘I have a boat in my yard,’ he told the operator. ‘There’s blood all over the inside. There’s a person in the boat.’
It’s something the 911 operator couldn’t quite seem to believe. ‘Are you sure?’ he asked.
‘I just looked in the boat,’ Henneberry said.
Police arrived within minutes and a tense standoff ensued as the sun set over Watertown.
Police helicopter infra-red cameras showed Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was indeed in the boat and still alive, visible through his body heat, lying in the boat.
Tsarnaev is pictured being arrested by officers after hiding in the boat in Henneberry’s yard
Death row: Tsarnaev (pictured here after being arrested) was sentenced to death by lethal injection in April 2015, and is currently on death row
Hidden: The boat in which the bomber hid is seen being inspected by police forensics teams. It was seized as evidence, but Henneberry bought another boat with donations from strangers
Tsarnaev eventually surrendered and the nation breathed a sigh of relief. He was sentenced to death by lethal injection in April 2015.
Henneberry’s boat was seized as evidence in the trial, but he was able to purchase a replacement thanks to generous donations from strangers grateful for his actions on that fateful day.
He named the new boat Elizabeth, after his wife, who passed away in 2014.
Henneberry is survived by his stepson Bob Duffy, stepdaughter Kelly Murray, and many other family members, including grandchildren and a great-grandchild.
In lieu of flowers, Henneberry’s family requests that donations be made to the American Lung Association in his honor.
Henneberry named his new boat Elizabeth, after his wife who died in 2014. Donations can be made in his name to the American Lung Association