The two men suspected of carrying out last week's deadly Boston Marathon bombing decided after authorities identified them to drive to New York and set off additional explosives in Times Square, New York City officials said on Thursday.
Their plan unraveled only when they realized that a Mercedes sports-utility vehicle they had hijacked on April 18 three days after the bombing did not have enough gasoline for the journey, Police Commissioner Ray Kelly said.
He said investigators learned of this plan while questioning the surviving suspect, 19-year-old Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, in his hospital bed in Boston. He has been recovering from his wounds there since being captured on Friday night after an all-day manhunt that shut down much of Boston.
"Questioning of Dzhokhar revealed that he and his brother decided spontaneously on Times Square as a target," Kelly said at a news conference with Mayor Michael Bloomberg. "They would drive to Times Square that same night.
"That plan, however, fell apart when they realized that the vehicle that they hijacked was low on gas and ordered the driver to stop at a nearby gas station.
At the time, the men still had six explosive devices, including a pressure-cooker bomb of the type used at the marathon and six pipe bombs, Kelly said.
When they stopped to fill up the vehicle, the driver of the car escaped. He alerted authorities and sparked a massive late-night car chase across the university town of Cambridge, where police said the brothers shot dead a Massachusetts Institute of Technology campus police officer.