Seconds seemed like minutes as Matt Parrish and his wife, Kristine, realized that it was the sound of gunfire that had awakened them from a sound sleep at 1 ’o clock in the morning.
“By the time we got out of bed and made it to the window, the entire street was full of police,” said Matt, a 1997 graduate of Shawnee High School, now living in Watertown, Mass., just outside of Boston.
The gunfire was coming from about a block and a half away where police had cornered the two suspects of the Boston Marathon bombing, 19-year-old Dzhokhar Tsamaev and his 26-year-old brother, Tamerian Tsamaev.
“As soon as we turned on our lights and looked out the window, police hit us with spotlights, yelling at us to get back from the window and to lock our doors,” Matt said. As they retreated to the center of their apartment, Matt and Kristine did what young people do nowadays.
“We checked our phones. The news was blowing up on Twitter,” Matt said. “It was scary. The suspects were armed and had bombs. We didn’t know what to expect.”
They kept their apartment dark, every so often sneaking to the window to check out the noises they heard outside.
“It was surreal,” Matt said. “In this case, the TV news really wasn’t that useful because everyone in the neighborhood was wired and sharing information. Some people had police scanners, but you had to be careful because there was a lot of misinformation going around.”
Darkness eventually turned to daylight and they learned one of the suspects, Tamerian Tsamaev, had been killed in the firefight while the other remained on the loose. The entire neighborhood remained in lockdown, but according to Matt, no one cared.
“Everybody I talked with couldn’t say enough good things about the job police were doing,’’ he said.
Around 7 p.m. that Friday, authorities started scaling back the search. The lockdown was lifted as city officials believed Dzhokhar Tsamaev had somehow evaded an army of police and was believed to have left Watertown.
“People came pouring out of their houses, everyone having stories to tell,” Matt said. “We headed down the hill, a block and a half away where the firefight took place. You could see bullet holes in houses. It was like a war zone.”
Matt and Kristine had been out of their apartment for just around an hour when they noticed a commotion starting to take place on a nearby street. They and a crowd of others hustled that way and reached a street blocked off by police tape. TV crews and police officers informed them that Dzhokhar Tsamaev was found hiding in a boat.
The now familiar sound of gunshots was heard coming from a block away. More police cars and ambulances arrived on the scene. Just before 9 p.m. a smiling officer approached the crowd and yelled out, “We got him!”
“People just started cheering like crazy,” Matt said. They again poured onto the streets and the ringing of church bells grew louder and louder.
The crowd eventually broke up and people headed back to their homes, many of them sitting out on their porches clapping and cheering every time a police car drove past.
“It was almost as if you were at a sporting event,” Matt said. “It’s funny because the day before some of us were talking about feeling disconnected from the rest of the city because nothing was happening near us and we hadn’t been able to attend any of the memorials.”
“Then we we end up in the middle of things.”
ROSES AND THORNS: Smart athletes, computers and a guy riding a bike find a place in the rose garden this week.
Rose: To Alex Swick, of Lima Central Catholic High School, and Abby Siefker, of Ottoville High School. They were named the 2013 Scholar Athletes of the Year by The Lima News and OSU-Lima.
Rose: To Raymond Harner, of Columbus Grove, who took part in the 95-mile Granfondo bicycle race in Italy.
Rose: To Bill Garland, who was named the new head football coach at Bath after serving as an assistant for 28 years.
Rose: The Metropolitan Block in downtown Lima and the Auglaize County Courthouse are finalists for revitalization awards from Heritage Ohio.
Rose: Bidding for eight homes in Lima could start as low as $1 during a special auction Wednesday at 11:30 a.m. on the steps of second floor of the Allen County Courthouse.
Rose: To Lima Central Catholic High School, which will be issuing iPads to all students in the fall as part of ongoing curriculum improvements.
Thorn: To Mark Germann, who lost his job as a Mercer County sheriff’s deputy when he was arrested for drunken driving.
Thorn: A 47-year-old Cortlandt Avenue woman had a handgun stolen from her home that she kept for safety. The thief entered the Lima house through an unlocked door while the woman was away.
PARTING SHOT: A shut mouth gathers no foot.