The night Danny got carjacked by the Tsarnaev Brothers

By now, if you've read all the accounts of last week's harrowing events in Boston, from the carnage inflicted during the Marathon bombings to the perpetrators' dramatic death/capture, you might have heard about the carjacking and hostage that the Tsarnaev brothers took, just before what would be the beginning of the end for them. Turns out, that hostage was a 26-year-old Chinese guy named "Danny."

In this exclusive interview with the Boston Globe, Danny, who is only identified by his American nickname, gives his crazy, strange account of the carjacking that put him in the path of Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev that night, filling in some of the gaps in the timeline before the brothers' eventual shootout with police in Watertown: Carjack victim recounts his harrowing night.

Held captive at gunpoint, Danny was able to escape when the Tsarnaev's stopped for snacks:

After a zigzagging trek through Brighton, Watertown, and back to Cambridge, Danny would seize his chance for escape at the Shell Station on Memorial Drive, his break turning on two words -- "cash only" -- that had rarely seemed so welcome.

When the younger brother, Dzhokhar, was forced to go inside the Shell Food Mart to pay, older brother Tamerlan put his gun in the door pocket to fiddle with a navigation device -- letting his guard down briefly after a night on the run. Danny then did what he had been rehearsing in his head. In a flash, he unbuckled his seat belt, opened the door, stepped through, slammed it behind, and sprinted off at an angle that would be a hard shot for any marksman.

"F---!" he heard Tamerlan say, feeling the rush of a near-miss grab at his back, but the man did not follow. Danny reached the haven of a Mobil station across the street, seeking cover in the supply room, shouting for the clerk to call 911.
It was his escape that allowed authorities to eventually track down the Tsarnaev brothers. What I found interesting is how Danny thought it would a good idea to play up his "foreign" status to his captors, making himself seem as un-American as possible. It seemed to work:
Danny had come to the US in 2009 for a master's degree, graduated in January 2012, and returned to China to await a work visa. He came back two months ago, leasing a Mercedes and moving into a high-rise with two Chinese friends while diving into a startup. But he told Tamerlan he was still a student, and that he had been here barely a year. It seemed to help that Tamerlan had trouble understanding even Danny's pronunciation of the word "China."

"Oh, that's why your English is not very good," the brother replied, finally figuring it out. "OK, you're Chinese ... I'm a Muslim."

"Chinese are very friendly to Muslims!" Danny said. "We are so friendly to Muslims."
My favorite part, though, is how Danny kept thinking he was going to die, and would never get a chance to talk to the girl in New York he secretly liked. After his ordeal was all over, he apparently called her. Priorities, yo.

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