Dateline   |  April 24, 2013

The Hunt for Answers, Part 3

The bombing suspects engage police in Watertown in a fierce firefight, captured on camera.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>> just west of boston, the watertown police department was on high alert after the brazen killing of the m.i.t. police officer and the carjacking of the mercedes suv .

>> we had a wild late-night, early morning .

>> but police chief edward deveaux, never expected his town to become the final battleground for the two suspects wanted in the boston marathon bombing.

>> pretty much 24 hours straight.

>> the police chief , and ordinary citizens who documented the fiery showdown gave "dateline" chilling insight into how determined and desperate the two men were.

>> i don't know if there are too many police departments in the country could say that they were in the fire fight we were in early friday morning.

>> a fire fight that followed a lucky break from authorities. the stolen suv still had the owner's cell phone inside it.

>> and we were able to ping the phone and kind of pick up where its location was.

>> police also put out an apb for the vehicle. at some point the brother has picked up a second car. at around 1:00 a.m ., technology and police work came together. a watertown officer saw the stolen suv .

>> and he started to follow them, as it turned out it wasn't one vehicle, it was two vehicles. the two brothers were in two different cars, driving pretty much in tandem.

>> as the watertown officer tailed them, both suspect cars suddenly stopped. the drivers got out and never hesitated. they fired directly at the officer, who reacted just as fast.

>> he was able to get in reverse and get out of harm's way a little bit and put some distance between them as he was being rained on with bullets.

>> six additional watertown police officers , three of them offduty, raced to the scene. within minutes, sleepy laurel street was transformed into a combat zone .

>> sounded like gunfire, and i immediately got up and went to our window and looked outside.

>> by now, you may recognize andrew kitzenberg. he became a citizen reporter that morning as he watched the unfolding battle from his window, he caught these amazing images with an every-day smartphone, capturing the tsavraev brothers shooting at police from behind the stolen suv .

>> andrew , would you be able to show us that? do you feel walking your computer to the window?

>> yeah, i'd be happy to.

>> after the gunfire, he was on msnbc via skooip, tuype, turning his laptop to a camera out of the window below.

>> i came to this window.

>> what he showed "dateline" documented how freshs terocious the confrontation was.

>> directly outside were the two shooters behind their cars, and the gunfire continued.

>> describe these -- these two men at this point. they are firing guns. does it look like they are organized?

>> they look quite organized. there were two vehicles. one -- one vehicle was the black mercedes suv was facing against the police officers , the two shooters were taking coverage behind that vehicle and with the second vehicle, the green sedan, they actually had their back door open?

>> they had the perfect cover.

>> they did.

>> christian tunsing is andrew 's roommate. when you saw these guys, did they look comfortable in that they knew how to use these weapons?

>> they were confident. they were rapidly reloading handguns, a constant barrage.

>> bullets flying everywhere on laurel street, into the sides of houses and cars.

>> the bullet hit the outside wall.

>> one tore through a wall and chair where christian had been sitting earlier that evening. even through the pounding bombardment, andrew could hear the shooters themselves. were they talking to each other, yelling anything?

>> yes, they were. i couldn't hear it too well, but you could hear dialog and i could hear yelling from my room.

>> for a while, the two young shooters, despite having had no weapons training that we know of, held their own against the police.

>> they hung in there in this very small area and we're seeing 200 to 300 bullets were exchanged there.

>> it terrified residents throughout the neighborhood and many took to social media , sharing information and fears about the gunfire over on laurel street. rebecca krieger, who lives about a mile away, was one of them.

>> it was really scary. my family was asleep. i was awake kind of freaking out. i woke them up.

>> she and her parents huddled in a second floor bedroom, watching for news.

>> we had three different computers, all watching different news stations and we had, you know, all of us on our different twitter accounts and it was scary. we were kind of freaking out.

>> back on laurel street, andrew kitzenberg and his roommate were trying to avoid the bullets. that's when andrew heard and felt the blasts.

>> i could feel the explosions. i could feel it in our apartment.

>> at what point in all of this did it dawn on you, these have got to be the bombers?

>> explosives. the explosives brought it to a whole other level. i saw a metal device that looked like a pressure cooker and definitely at that point, i knew what we were dealing with.

>> when that one exploded, it rocked the whole place. to the police chief , it sounded all too familiar.

>> it just, the exact duplicate of the bomb that went off at the boston marathon . on a side street in watertown .

>> his men weren't just being shot at, but they were being bombed to counterterrorism experts, that signals a certain level of sophistication.

>> despite the fact that you can get plans on the internet, to pull it off successfully generally means you have some type of training.

>> former fbi agent don burelli.

>> it does take training and practice, and most who are successful bombers do have training and have practiced before they actually go and try to do the, you know, the event. why, does it work?

>> the brothers, outnumbered by police, were ready to make their boldest move yet down laurel street in a revealing show of force and firepower, no one here would forget. coming