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Only One Gun Recovered So Far In Boston Marathon Bombings Probe

BOSTON,  (UPI) –  Only one gun — a semiautomatic handgun — has been recovered from the two men suspected of carrying out the Boston Marathon bombings, police told ABC News.

The gun, presumably used by Tamerlan Tsarnaev, 26, was recovered at the shootout scene in Watertown, Mass., and is in the custody of the Massachusetts State Police, ABC News reported Thursday.

No guns were recovered from the boat where his brother Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, 19, was captured Friday after an intense manhunt. Tamerlan Tsarnaev was killed earlier Friday in a shootout with police.

Law enforcement sources said the recovered gun was a Ruger 9mm semiautomatic handgun and the serial number had been obliterated.

The apparent lack of firearms led some officials to theorize the brothers’ fatal attack on Sean Collier, a Massachusetts Institute of Technology police officer, was an attempt to arm themselves, officials said.

The FBI released photos of the men they believed planted the two bombs near the finish line of the April 15 Boston Marathon in which three people were killed and more than 270 people were injured.

Recent figures indicate 34 people were still hospitalized, one in critical condition, ABC News said.

Law enforcement officials told ABC News Tamerlan Tsarnaev apparently began collecting materials for the explosives at least two months ago when he was spotted at a New Hampshire fireworks store. Store personnel told the FBI $400 worth of fireworks were sold to him in February.

U.S. officials also said the Russian Foreign Intelligence Service contacted the CIA and the FBI about Tamerlan Tsarnaev.

The older Tsarnaev brother “had changed drastically since 2010″ and was preparing to travel to a part of Russia “to join unspecified underground groups,” said a one-page request from the intelligence service, cited by The New York Times, that was sent to the FBI in March 2011 and to the CIA in September 2011.

U.S. authorities told Russian intelligence they had no suspicious information about the man but they put Tamerlan Tsarnaev on two government watch lists late that year that were supposed to alert authorities if he traveled overseas.

One of the databases, the Terrorist Identities Datamart Environment, or TIDE, contains about 700,000 names and is the source for information for other government watch lists — including the FBI’s Terrorist Screening Database and the Transportation Security Administration’s “no fly” list.

When Tamerlan Tsarnaev left the United States Jan. 12, 2012, for a six-month trip to Dagestan and Chechnya — predominantly Muslim republics in Russia’s North Caucasus region — his flight reservation tripped a security alert to customs authorities, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano told a Senate committee Tuesday.

It evidently did not set off a TIDE alert because the spelling variants of his name and the birth dates entered into the system — variants Russia included in its warnings — were different enough from the correct information to bypass an alert, a U.S. official told the Times.

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev had been the subject of a massive manhunt all day Friday and was cornered just before nightfall, hiding in a boat in the driveway of a house in Watertown.

“They probably didn’t know whether he had a gun,” one law enforcement official told The Washington Post. “Hours earlier, he and his brother had killed a police officer, shot another officer and thrown explosives out of their cars as the police were chasing them. They couldn’t assume that he did not have a gun and more explosives.”

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Since 1907, United Press International (UPI) has been a leading provider of critical information to media outlets, businesses, governments and researchers worldwide.

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