The April 15 bombing at the Boston Marathon hit the community of Chinese living in the U.S. especially hard. Of the three fatalities, one was Boston University graduate student Lü Lingzi from Shenyang. It has now been revealed that the owner of an SUV that was carjacked by bombing suspects Dzhokhar and Tamerlan Tsarnaev was a Chinese entrepreneur who goes by the name Danny. Danny played a critical role after his escape from the car by assisting the FBI and local police in the search for the Tsarnaev brothers. Boston Globe reporter Eric Moskowitz interviewed Danny about his ordeal:
The story of that night unfolds like a Tarantino movie, bursts of harrowing action laced with dark humor and dialogue absurd for its ordinariness, reminders of just how young the men in the car were. Girls, credit limits for students, the marvels of the Mercedes ML 350 and the iPhone 5, whether anyone still listens to CDs — all were discussed by the two 26-year-olds and the 19-year-old driving around on a Thursday night.
Danny described 90 harrowing minutes, first with the younger brother following in a second car, then with both brothers in the Mercedes, where they openly discussed driving to New York, though Danny could not make out if they were planning another attack. Throughout the ordeal, he did as they asked while silently analyzing every threatened command, every overheard snatch of dialogue for clues about where and when they might kill him.
“Death is so close to me,” Danny recalled thinking. His life had until that moment seemed ascendant, from a province in central China to graduate school at Northeastern University to a Kendall Square start-up.
“I don’t want to die,” he thought. “I have a lot of dreams that haven’t come true yet.”
Watch an interview with Moscowitz about his reporting on the story:
The New Yorker comments on the importance of Danny’s actions that night:
One of the mysteries of the case has been why the brothers killed a cop but didn’t kill the man whose car they had stolen. Now we know. Danny kept his cool when they picked up Dzhohkar and the trunk was loaded with heavy bags. The three men then drove through Boston, and the brothers asked Danny if he could take them to New York. Eventually, they pulled up to a gas station, hoping to use Danny’s credit card. The station took only cash, so Dzhohkar got out to pay. Tamerlan, allegedly an aspiring mass murderer and a man known by some as the best boxer in Boston, put his gun in the door pocket for a moment. Seeing his chance, with one motion Danny unbuckled his seat belt and opened his door. And then he raced off at an angle, fearing a bullet in the back. In a moment he was across the street in another station, and the attendant there was on the phone as the Tsarnaevs drove off. Cops would come, the shoot-out would commence, and the horrible saga would end with no more innocent people killed. If Danny hadn’t had the courage to run or if he hadn’t gotten his seat belt off, more people would have likely died—very possibly including Danny.