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(NECN: Alysha Palumbo, Boston) - It's the missing piece to the puzzle of the manhunt that captivated Massachusetts and much of the country last Friday: What happened in between the shooting at MIT last Thursday night and the shootout in Watertown early Friday morning with Boston Marathon bombing suspects Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev?
Boston Globe reporter Eric Moskowitz sat down with the carjacking victim known only as "Danny" as he told his story of his harrowing 90 minute ride with the brothers who he says admitted to him that they were the bombers.
"There were many chances for them to kill him and many times when it seemed like they really were about to, and not only did he survive, he escapes and leads the police right to them, instead of potentially have these brothers drive to New York," Moskowitz said.
Moskowitz says it was shortly after the brothers allegedly ambushed MIT police officer Sean Collier on Vassar Street in Cambridge around 10:30 last Thursday night, that Danny saw a sedan swerve behind him on the side of Brighton Avenue near Packards Corner, and a guy in dark clothing got out and came up to his car.
Not knowing the danger, Danny rolled down his window.
"The guy, who we now know is Tamerlan, reaches in unlocks the door, opens it up, climbs in and points a gun at him, demands money and tells him to start driving," Moskowitz said.
Moskowitz says Danny told him he was forced to drive through Brighton into Watertown with the suspect's sedan behind him.
He said they stopped briefly on Fairfield Street in Watertown as the brothers loaded what turned out to be five pipe bombs and a pressure cooker bomb into the back of his Mercedes SUV.
They left behind the green Honda Civic, and with Tamerlan now driving, Danny says they went to a Bank of America in Watertown Square, where Dzhokhar took $800 out of Danny's account.
"He's picking up the map of where they're going and when they're talking he's trying to take mental notes," Moskowitz said.
But he said when the Tsarnaev brothers realized the car was low on gas, they doubled back to Cambridge for a 24 hour gas station, and ended up at this Shell on Memorial Drive.
As Danny's luck would have it, the station was "cash only" at that time of night, so Dzhokhar went inside to pay, leaving Tamerlan alone with his hostage - Danny saw an opening, unbuckled his seatbelt and bolted.
"He said he felt like the wind at his back, like he knew that he was reaching for him, but he slammed the door, he's unable to grab him, and if Tamerlan had been able to get a shot off he would have had to shoot through the car over the back seat, break a window, it was just a near impossible shot, Danny ran between the car and the gas pumps and then sprinted to the Mobil station," Moskowitz said.
When Danny made it to the Mobil station across the street, he got the clerk to call 9-1-1.
Police arrived within minutes and began interviewing Danny.
It appears he may have helped investigators to stop the suspects in Watertown instead of letting them possibly make their way to New York City.