US & Canada

Boston bombings suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev 'shot multiple times'

Massachusetts State Police photo, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, bloody and dishevelled with the red dot of a sniper's rifle laser sight on his head, emerges from a boat at the time of his capture by law enforcement authorities in Watertown, Massachusetts 19 April 2013
Image caption Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was captured after officers surrounded the boat in which he had hidden, shown in a photo leaked by a police source

The surviving Boston bombing suspect was shot through the face, legs and left hand before his capture, according to newly unsealed court documents.

Despite his injuries, Dhozkhar Tsarnaev was able to "respond vocally" to questioning, Dr Stephen Odom said several days after the bombings.

The twin bombs at the finishing line of the Boston Marathon on 15 April killed three and injured more than 260.

Mr Tsarnaev, 19, has pleaded not guilty to the charges against him.

He was found hiding inside a boat in a backyard garden after a two-day Boston-area manhunt.

The other suspect, his brother Tamerlan Tsarnaev, was killed during a shootout with police the night before.

Ongoing treatment

Dr Odom, a trauma surgeon who treated Mr Tsarnaev after his capture by heavily armed police, testified at a hearing at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center on 22 April.

He told court officials that the worst of Mr Tsarnaev's injuries was a gunshot wound from a bullet that entered through his mouth and exited the left side of his face.

"This was a high-powered injury that has resulted in skull-base fracture, with injuries to the middle ear, the skull base, the lateral portion of his C1 vertebrae, with a significant soft-tissue injury, as well as injury to the pharynx, the mouth, and a small vascular injury that's been treated," Dr Odom said, according to the transcript unsealed on Monday.

Mr Tsarnaev also had multiple gunshot wounds elsewhere, including his legs and his left hand.

By the time Dr Odom testified, the 19-year-old had had multiple medical procedures.

The doctor said despite his injuries and ongoing treatment with the painkiller Dilaudid, Mr Tsarnaev knew where he was and that he was receiving medical treatment.

"He knows that he has had multiple procedures, but I'm not sure how aware he is of the specifics," Dr Odom told the court. "He knows that he has an injury to the neck and to the hand."

Mr Tsarnaev appeared in court on 10 July, with his face swollen and his arm in a cast.

Among the charges he faces are 30 counts of using a weapon of mass destruction. Prosecutors could press for the death penalty.

He has also been charged over the death of a fourth person, a university police officer allegedly shot dead by Mr Tsarnaev and his brother Tamerlan in the days after the attack.