TODAY   |  May 01, 2013

Boston carjack victim: Dzhokhar was ‘a follower’

The victim of a carjacking by Boston bombing suspects, a 26-year-old man known as Danny, talks to TODAY’s Matt Lauer about the harrowing experience, saying the pair loaded explosives into his car before he was able to escape and call authorities.

Share This:

This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> we're learning more about the events in boston that led police to the suspects in the marathon attack. we sat down with the 26-year-old chinese entrepreneur who was carjacked by the brothers. he goes by danny and he asks us to conceal his face and modify his voice.

>> it's the night after the bombing.

>> yes.

>> you're sitting in your car?

>> i saw someone pull over to the curb just behind me and there was a person on the passenger side. he jump out of the car and walk to my car. he knocks on my window. i lower it down a little bit. suddenly he put his hand and open the door from the inside.

>> what de say to you?

>> he took out his gun, point it to me and say, where's the cash.

>> can you show me how close he put the gun to you?

>> right there, yes.

>> right at your head?

>> yeah.

>> did in any way you think at that moment this is a guy the fbi is looking for?

>> no. i saw a different guy from the picture.

>> he asked you a question, didn't you? have you been following the news from the bombing?

>> i said, of course, i know. he said, i did that. and i just killed a policeman in cambridge.

>> you took off driving, you had to be scared to death.

>> yeah, i was --

>> how did you even manage to drive?

>> at first i can't manage to drive. i was shaking. tam tam he told me, slow down.

>> he slowed down as brother dzhokhar followed in a mercedes. when dzhokhar got in the car, de say anything to you in.

>> he didn't say too much to me. it was pretty quiet.

>> did you get a sense from the way they interacted with each other that they were equals?

>> i think dzhokhar is like a follower.

>> why do you say that?

>> because dzhokhar, he went out to the atm, he went out to get gas. tamerlan never get out of the car.

>> so he was the guy dying the errands?

>> yes.

>> they loaded something from the second car into your suv?

>> yes.

>> what did they load into your car?

>> i have an idea now.

>> explosives.

>> when you think you were driving around in that car with with two people who allegedly committed murder, in the back of the car there are explosives, what do you think now?

>> i think i was really lucky. god was with me.

>> danny considered many different ways to escape but he decided to make his move when they stopped at this gas station in cambridge. at that time of night they only took cash.

>> only took cash. dzhokhar went to the store to take cash. with only one in the car.

>> if you are going to escape, it had to be quick.

>> yes.

>> what did you do?

>> i think, unfasten my seat belt and open the door .

>> with your left hand you undid the seat belt , with your right hand you opened the door and you took off?

>> i took off.

>> did you hear him react to you opening that door?

>> he tried to grab me. i feel him trying to grab --

>> he tried to grab your back?

>> yes.

>> but just missed me?

>> just missed me. it was very close.

>> danny ran into a different gas station and called 911. he told police they could track the suspects through his car satellite system and the iphone he left behind .

>> did you think because that happened and they did track them quickly that perhaps you prevented further bloodshed that night?

>> i was trying to do, you know, what i can do.

>> it couldn't have been too long after that, about a half hour later there was a shootout? watertown.

>> yes.

>> and tamerlan was killed.

>> yeah.

>> what was your reaction?

>> i was still worried they would come back to me. but when i heard of that news, i feel a little bit relief.

>> we'll have more of our conversation with danny a little later in the show. including a section where he talks about getting a text message and then a phone call from his roommate. and tamerlan looked basically at him and said, you do anything stupid with that text message or the phone call , i'll kill you. it's a harrowing ordeal.

>> i can't imagine how he's adjusted. how de seem to you?

>> one is dead and one is in custody, as you can tell, he did not want his identity revealed. he will testify in the trial gladly and he knows he'll be identified at that time but for now he wants to stay under the radar.