Discuss as:

Obama: 'We've closed an important chapter in this tragedy'

 

President Obama addresses the apprehension of a suspected bomber, and the tragedies in both Boston and West, Texas.

The nation has "closed an important chapter" in its response to a terrorist attack on Monday, President Barack Obama said Friday evening at the White House, capping what the president called a "tough week" that captured much of the nation's attention.

After a day of anxious waiting that played out live on national television and in social media, police apprehended Dzhokhar Tsarnaev — the second, remaining suspect in Monday's bombing of the Boston Marathon — alive following a daylong manhunt that shut down much of the Boston metro area. 

"Boston police and state police and local police across the commonwealth of Massachusetts responded with professionalism and bravery over five long days," the president said at the White House. "And tonight because of their determined efforts, we've closed an important chapter in this tragedy."

The lockdown followed an early morning shootout between Dzhokhar Tsarnaev and his older brother, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, and police that left the elder brother dead. Police spent most of the day going door-to-door in the Boston suburb of Watertown in search of the younger brother.

But the president suggested there was much work ahead as investigators begin to delve more into the planning and execution of Monday's attack, and that he'd asked the FBI, Department of Homeland Security and intelligence agencies to continue to deploy resources for its investigation.

"Obviously tonight there are still many unanswered questions: Among them, why did young men who grew up and studied here, as part of our communities and our country, resort to such violence? How did they plan and carry out these attacks? And did they receive any help?" Obama said. "The families of those killed so senselessly deserve answers."

The president added: "We will determine what happened, we will investigate any associations that these terrorists may have had, and we'll continue to do what we have to do to keep our people safe."

Obama was also pointed in saying the alleged bombers had "failed" in propagating any ideology underpinning their attack on the marathon, which left three dead and dozens others injured.

Obama was told of the news by Robert Mueller, the head of the FBI, which has been leading the federal investigation into the bombing.

White House officials said that Obama had been kept apprised of the developments on the manhunt throughout the day in briefings with his national security team. The most recent briefing disclosed to the press concluded shortly after 4 p.m. ET, a White House official said, in the Oval Office. During that meeting, the president called both Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick, D, and Mayor Thomas Menino, D, for regular updates about the investigation. 

The president also spoke Friday with Russian President Vladimir Putin, whose nation has been plagued by clashes with Chechnya. Obama "praised the close cooperation that the United States has received from Russia on counter-terrorism, including in the wake of the Boston attack," according to an official White House account of the call.

But as investigators pored into the backgrounds of the Tsarnaev brothers, the president warned against any rush to judgment.

"When a tragedy like this happens … it's important that we do this right. That's why we have investigations. That's why we relentlessly gather the facts. That's why we have courts," he said. "That's why we take care not to rush to judgment -- not about motivations of individuals, certainly not about entire groups of people."

There was a small element of politics amid an essentially criminal pursuit of the at-large suspect in the Marathon bombings, an event that was regarded as a terrorist attack. Sen. Lindsey Graham, S.C., and Rep. Peter King, N.Y., both Republicans who speak out frequently on national security issues, quickly urged law enforcement against reading Tsarnaev his Miranda rights, which would entitle him to certain legal rights in the criminal justice system. 

But the administration said it would invoke a public safety exception to the Miranda rule shortly after Tsarnaev's apprehension, and would withhold the warning normally read to suspects under arrest when the accused terrorist is physically able to be interrogated.

Obama also used the national speaking slot to pledge assistance to the victims of an explosion this week at a fertilizer plant in West, Texas.

"I want them to know that they are not forgotten," he said. "Our thoughts, our prayers are with the people of West, Texas, where so many good people lost their lives, some lost their homes, many are injured, many are still missing."

And as if to cap the week's flurry of activity, Obama termed this one a "tough week," but said he was confident the U.S. had the resilience to overcome its challenges.

This story was originally published on