Suspect’s arrest relieves tension

After a day filled with high drama and anticipation, Americans could breathe easier Friday night after the second of two suspects in the Boston Marathon bombing was in custody.

Thanks and appreciation go out to all of the law enforcement personnel and other emergency personnel who participated in the intense manhunt to bring the initial phase of the bombing case to a close.

The end came a little more than a day after the FBI released images of Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev captured by video cameras at the site of the Monday bombings near the marathon’s finish line that killed three people and injured more than 180.

The 24 hours before Dzhokar was captured had been a tension roller coaster after the brothers from the Russian Caucasus region reportedly shot a Massachusetts Institute of Technology police officer responding to a call of shots being fired on campus. The officer later died.

The Tsarnaeves then carjacked a man in a Mercedes SUV, later releasing him but keeping the vehicle, which police pursued to the Boston suburb of Watertown. The bombing suspects threw pipe bombs at police and engaged in a firefight. Tamerlan, 26, was critically wounded and later died. Dzhokhar, 19, took off in the vehicle and eluded police, leading to an intensive manhunt that went on most of the day as cable news stations provided continuous coverage.

Several times during the day, tension skyrocketed as it appeared police were closing in, only to learn the man they wanted wasn’t there.

Ironically, about an hour after officials told residents they could leave their homes and restarted mass transit systems, a Watertown homeowner contacted police about blood on a boat parked in his backyard.

After a standoff and exchange of gunfire with police, Dzhokhar was taken into custody. He had suffered two gunshot wounds and was in critical condition at a hospital Friday night.

All of the police and other responding agencies deserve a tremendous amount of credit for their work in bringing this case to a close, although it did come at a price with the death of an MIT officer and the wounding of a transit officer. Their families have our sympathies.

But it could have been much worse. The pipe bombs the brothers had and the explosive vest that Tamerlan was wearing when he was shot indicate they might have had deadly plans that were interrupted by the intense manhunt.

In the coming days and weeks, we hope authorities will be able to learn more about the marathon bombing and what reportedly motivated the brothers to conduct the attack.

But while we wait for answers, Americans can breathe a little easier now that the suspects in the bombing no longer pose a threat.