WMass Air Wing troopers recall their role in marathon bombing suspect capture

FRAMINGHAM, Mass. (WWLP)–The series of events that unfolded following last year’s Boston Marathon’s bombings included a number of heroic actions.

22News reporter Kaitlin Goslee went flying on Thursday, with the Massachusetts State Air Wing crew that played a critical role in capturing the second marathon bombing suspect.

For the three Massachusetts State Police Air Wing crew members that call Chicopee’s Westover Air Reserve Base their home, the day the second Marathon Bombing suspect was captured was a matter of communication and technology.

Tactical Flight Officer Eric Fairchild, of the Massachusetts State Police Air Wing said, “We wanted to find that guy as much as anybody, and the fact that we could do our part to help was great.”

The crew that captured the first images of the second Boston Marathon bombing suspect hiding the boat used infrared technology.

Trooper Mark Spencer, Trooper Eric Fairchild and Trooper Edward Mathurin were the three man crew flying over Watertown when a man reported finding blood on his boat in his backyard.

“I put the cross hairs on the boat, I expected to maybe see a heat image, but what I actually got was a perfect silhouette, you could see quite a bit of detail and that’s kind of unusual with the Flir,” Tactical flight Officer Mathurin, said.

The Flir, or military grade camera, is mounted on the chopper they were flying that night, and was able to detect infrared light, or light put off by heat, from hundreds of feet above ground.

Fighting less than favorable weather conditions, the three unsung heroes from Western Mass. guided ground officers through every move the person in the boat made until ultimately Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, the second Boston Marathon bombing suspect was captured.

“As the time went on you could start to see him move a little bit more, I think he was getting anxious per-say.  As more and more tactics on the ground were being used he was then responding to those,” Trooper Spencer said.

The Air Wing unit troopers take little credit for their work that day.  Instead they are focused on keeping safe the hundreds of thousands of people expected gather at the Bolyston Street Boston Marathon finish line the year.

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