State police air wing from Westover assisted in Watertown - WFSB 3 Connecticut

State police air wing from Westover assisted in Watertown manhunt

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CHICOPEE, MA (WSHM) -

A State Police air wing crew based out of Westover Air Reserve Base in Chicopee played a major role in the capture of Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzokhar Tsarnaev.

Since the photos of Tsarnaev surfaced last week, three state police pilots followed multiple leads.

"We spent a lot of time chasing different leads that possibly could materialize, and that was people saying they saw a subject that may have matched the description on the bank of the Charles," said Trooper Mark Spencer.

It wasn't until just after 6 p.m. last Friday they got the call that ended the hours-long manhunt that shut down an entire city.

"We're thankful that that citizen called in what he saw," said Trooper Eric Fairchild.

CBS 3 captured video of their helicopter zeroing in on the site last Friday in Watertown.

Using cameras equipped with technology to detect body heat, the troopers knew almost immediately who was hiding in the boat under shrink wrap.

"Basically in the middle of the boat, and he was kind of looking up with his hands like that, and it was a perfect silhouette of a human being," said Trooper Ed Mathurin.

FBI, local and state police and military swarmed the scene as the state police pilots captured the now famous infrared images of 19-year-old Tsarnaev laying in the boat.

Despite gusting winds and intense cloud cover, they locked on as ground crews eventually brought the suspect into custody.

"We were a very small cog in a huge wheel," Fairchild said.

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