Carjacking victim: Tamerlan Tsarnaev admitted to Boston bombing
Willie Grace | 3/12/2015, 6:18 p.m.
BOSTON (CNN) -- Dun Meng knew to pull over his Mercedes-Benz SUV to respond to a text message that night in April 2013. That's when a man got out of another car, jumped into his SUV and pointed a gun at him.
"He asked me, 'Do you know the Boston Marathon explosion?' " Meng told a crowded courtroom Thursday, speaking in halting English. An interpreter who spoke Meng's native Mandarin sat next to him but was not needed.
"He asked, 'You know who did it? I did it and I just killed a policeman in Cambridge,' " Meng said a man later identified as Tamerlan Tsarnaev told him.
Meng was on the witness stand in the death penalty trial of admitted Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, Tamerlan's younger brother. He recalled seeing the flashing lights of police cars in Cambridge earlier that night.
"After that, how did you feel?" Assistant U.S. Attorney William Weinreb asked.
"Terrified. The whole world is looking for him at the time. ... I thought it was just a typical robbery."
There was nothing typical about the days after the Boston Marathon bombings, which killed three people and hurt more than 240 others.
Prosecutors say Dzhokhar and Tamerlan Tsarnaev had earlier killed Massachusetts Institute of Technology police Officer Sean Collier because they wanted his gun. But their efforts to take it were thwarted by a safety holster.
Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, who was 19 at the time, does not dispute he was present when Collier was killed on the evening of April 18, 2013, nor does he deny that he participated in the bombings three days earlier. He is being tried on 30 charges -- 17 of which carry the possibility of the death penalty.
Tamerlan Tsarnaev, 26, would not survive the night. He was killed in a chase and gunbattle with police that began with reports of an "officer down" at MIT.
It was after Collier's killing that Meng encountered the Tsarnaev brothers.
At the time, he was working on his master's degree at Northeastern University. Meng, a partner at a company that created a food delivery app, recalled feeling tired after work. He drove along the Charles River with no destination in mind. He pulled over after receiving a text message.
'Don't be stupid'
"I'm a traffic engineer, and I know it is unsafe to text while I'm driving," he said.
A car pulled up quickly and stopped. A man in the car walked over. Meng said he thought the man wanted directions. Instead, the man pulled open the SUV door and climbed in.
Meng said Tamerlan Tsarnaev demanded cash. He said he had about $45 on him.
"He said, 'That's not enough. Where's your wallet?' So I give him my wallet, but there's no cash in the wallet."
The man pulled the magazine out of his handgun. He showed Meng it was loaded.
"I'm serious," Meng testified that the man told him moments before admitting to being the Boston Marathon bomber. "So don't be stupid."