Alleged Boston bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev suffered a gunshot wound to the face as well as multiple other injuries before his capture, according to the trauma surgeon who treated the suspect.
Tsarnaev, now 20, had “multiple serious injuries,” Dr. Stephen Ray Odom, a board certified surgeon at Boston’s Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, told a judge on April 22, according to newly unsealed court documents.
“He has multiple gunshot wounds, the most severe of which appears to have entered through the left side inside of his mouth and exited the left face, lower face,” Odom said, according to the transcript from three days after Tsarnaev was hauled from a boat in a Watertown, Mass., backyard.
“This was a high-powered injury that has resulted in skull-base fracture, with injuries to the middle ear, the skull base, the lateral portion of his C1 vertebrae, with a significant soft-tissue injury, as well as injury to the pharynx, the mouth, and a small vascular injury that’s been treated,” Odom said.
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Tsarnaev’s brother Tamerlan, the second bombing suspect, was killed in a shootout with police in the course of the violent manhunt days after two homemade pressure-cooker bombs exploded near the finish line of the Boston Marathon, killing three people and injuring scores more. Massachusetts Institute of Technology Officer Sean Collier, 27, was shot and killed in his patrol car as officials pursued the two suspects.
Odom said that in addition to being the surgeon on call when Tsarnaev was taken to the hospital, he was his attending physician in the days immediately after, according to the transcript.
“He has multiple gunshots [sic] wounds to the extremities that have been treated with dressing to the lower extremities; and in the case of his left hand, he had multiple bony injuries as well that were treated with fixation and soft-tissue coverage, as well as tendon repair and vascular ligation,” Odom told U.S. Magistrate Judge Marianne B. Bowler.
Tsarnaev was able to respond vocally to questions and knew where he was at the time of the April 22 hearing, Odom said, according to the court documents. The suspect was aware of injuries to his neck and hand, he said.
Massachusetts State Police tactical photographer Sgt. Sean Murphy released more than a dozen photographs from the manhunt to Boston Magazine in July, including some that showed the bloodied Tsarnaev emerging from the rear of the tarp-covered boat with the laser of a sniper rifle sight trained on his forehead.
Tsarnaev scrawled a note inside the hull of the boat where he was found, sources told NBC News in May, in which he allegedly said the bombings were retaliation for American actions against Muslims.
The bombing suspect responded not guilty to the charges of a 30-count indictment in the John Joseph Moakley federal courthouse in South Boston on July 11, in a courtroom packed with survivors of the bombing and their families.