Reporting Lauren Leamanczyk
WATERTOWN (CBS) – On a quiet night on Laurel Street in Watertown, the chaos of the manhunt that led to Dzhokar Tsarnaev’s capture seems far away. Then, you look closer. Six months later there are still bullet holes in the siding of homes. Some cars still bear the scars of a gun battle that took place in the middle of the street.
“It’s a reminder of what you went through again,” said Stephen Phipps. He watched from his window as police officers and the suspected terrorists did battle in front of his home. His wife Teresa Phipps hid in the house.
They remember every detail of a shootout that felt like hours – but in reality, only lasted a few minutes.
“It was terrifying. The house shook when the pressure cooker bomb went off,” Teresa said. She remembers the glow of explosions.
When it was over, their house had holes in it. Siding was punctured by shrapnel from the pressure cooker bombs that the Tsarnaev brothers threw as they tried to escape.
There’s a bullet hole in the fence next door, where a Watertown Police sergeant took shelter behind a tree as he exchanged gunfire. And then, there’s the damage you can’t see.
“It took me months before I could go in the basement by myself,” Teresa said. She had never been afraid like that before. “I’m much better now, but the random bang or loud clap will give me a start.”
Across the street, Peter Kehyayias spoke with WBZ on his porch, right below his shrapnel riddled siding. He can still remember seeing Tsarnaev’s face as he ran in front of the house, firing his gun.
“I looked, I said to my wife. That’s them.”
His car was at the center of a gun battle. It’s still not repaired because insurance denied the claim. Both windows were shot out.
The gawkers have stopped coming to stare and point at the damage on Laurel Street. Life is almost back to normal. But every once in a while, Stephen says, the sight of a bullet hole will bring it all back.
“Sometimes I go through and say how lucky we were that nothing worse went on that night and there wasn’t anyone in that house that was hurt,” he recalls. “It makes you appreciate everything those officers did that night even more.”
He and Teresa planted a garden, with white flowers and red ones in the middle that form the letter W. It’s their way of saying thanks to the officers who risked their lives on the street and a message to their neighbors that they made it.
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