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High Technology Helps Mass. State Police Arrest Bombing Suspect

State Police Chopper

PLYMOUTH, Mass. (WGGB) — State of the art technology played a key role in the capture of Boston bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev.

A Massachusetts State Police Air Wing Crew helped in the capture.

The images were stunning.

A thermal imaging camera taking video and pictures of the Boston bombing suspect hiding under a cover in a boat in the backyard of a Watertown home.

The camera is attached to a state police helicopter.

Troopers Ed Mathurin, Mark Spencer, and Eric Fairchild, who flew the critical mission the night the suspect was captured, explained the technology on Friday at the State Police Air Wing’s hangar in Plymouth.

They used a ‘FLIR’ or Forward Looking Infrared Camera and Trooper Ed Mathurin operated it.

“This is the FLIR turret. It contains the lenses for the infrared camera, the laser pointer, the geopoint, and this is the controller. It is just like an XBox control. You really need hand-eye coordination when you’re operating this camera,” says Trooper Mathurin.

The helicopter crew describes their experience as intense. They say they were in the right place at the right time and their job was to help the tactical crews on the ground.

Trooper Mark Spencer said they wasted no time when they got the call.

“By the time we got the report from the gentleman who owned the boat, that, to us, seemed like one of those legitimate eyewitness accounts that we should definitely start heading to quickly. We went without haste. We didn’t spend any time getting there,” says Trooper Spencer.

And when they got there and pointed the camera on the boat, there he was.

“The subject kept moving, a little forward of the boat a little aft, and my job was to let all the tactical crews on the ground where he is, where his head is, where his feet are, is he sitting up, does he have anything in his hands,” says Trooper Eric Fairchild.

The communication provided critical information that led to the successful capture of the suspect.