WATERTOWN (CBS) – As the tragedy at the Naval Yard in Washington DC unfolded, it brought back memories of the massive manhunt to capture Dzhokhar Tsarnaev in Watertown.
“Don’t ever say it can’t happen here, because if it can happen in Watertown, it can happen anywhere,” said Watertown Police Captain Raymond Dupuis. That was one of the takeaways from the intense situation in his community.
And he saw similarities between the challenges he and Massachusetts officers faced and what was happening in the nation’s capital.
For instance, in both cases, officers were unsure how many shooters they were dealing with. Initially Watertown Police were told there could be as many as three or four gunman.
“You don’t know who the enemy is. You know he or she could blend in like anyone else. So you could be looking for another shooter, but you don’t know what the shooter looks like,” Dupuis told WBZ-TV.
The constantly evolving intelligence makes it difficult to determine how large of a perimeter to set up and how to keep both law enforcement and civilians safe.
Multiple law enforcement agencies have to find ways to work together and use their expertise to bring the shooter under control.
The same specialized ATF tactical unit responded to both the Watertown manhunt and the Washington mass shooting.
“They had some tremendous crime scene response people. They had some other people that were tactical in nature,” said Boston Police Commissioner Ed Davis.
The danger is clear and police know they could take fire at any time, said Dupuis. When an officer is shot, it makes the situation even more real.
“Everybody’s a possible victim, or could be a possible target of the shooter, especially if no one knows why he’s there or why he’s doing this.”