Area congressmen weigh in on search for bombing suspect

WASHINGTON – Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger, the senior Democrat on the U.S. House of Representatives Intelligence Committee, says the two Boston Marathon bombing suspects had collected pipe bombs, grenades and improvised explosive devices before they confronted police.

Maryland Congressman Dutch Ruppersberger said that the brother who fled after a furious gunfight hurled some of the devices at police as he drove away in a stolen car.

Ruppersberger, who was briefed by authorities, said U.S. law enforcement and intelligence officials plan to quickly pivot from their search for the surviving suspect to learn whether the brothers had any help or contact from terrorist groups inside or outside the U.S. Ruppersberger said authorities likely will ask Russian officials for evidence in Chechnya and other nearby Russian regions.

“The next phase that we’re in right now is to find out what their motivation was,” Ruppersberger told WTOP in an on-air interview on Friday afternoon.

On the subject of a possible broader involvement in this case beyond just the brothers as suspects, he says they have not made that determination. Ruppersberger also says the devices that exploded during the marathon were small but sophisticated.

U.S. Rep. Gerry Connolly, a Virginia congressman on the House Committee on Foreign Affairs who originally hails from Boston, spoke with WTOP on air as well.

“This touches everybody’s lives, including my family’s,” he says.

Connolly says the city of Boston is actually smaller than Fairfax County. Though he says a house-to-house search is an arduous task, it actually makes sense in this case because the community in and around the city is older and houses there are closer together. Connolly also says that judgment must be withheld until all of the facts in the case are known.

Copyright 2013 WTOP and the Associated Press. All rights reserved.

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