Boston Mayor Thomas Menino won’t allow marathon bombing suspect Tamerlan Tsarnaev to be buried in the city, his spokeswoman said.
“It would be disrespectful to our residents to accommodate this individual,” Dot Joyce, Menino’s press secretary, told the Boston Globe on Tuesday.
Menino thinks Tsarnaev’s body should be sent to his family in Russia, as the suspect’s mother wants, Joyce said.
Tsarnaev, 26, died in a shootout with police on April 18, three days after allegedly detonating two bombs near the Boston Marathon finish line, killing three people and injuring 264 others. His 19-year-old brother, Dzhokhar, was captured the next night after a manhunt that virtually shut down the Boston area.
The brothers are suspected of killing an MIT police officer, Sean Collier, before leading police on a pursuit to Watertown which ended with Tamerlan Tsarnaev dead. The medical examiner found the cause of death to be gunshot wounds and blunt trauma to the head and torso. Authorities said Dzhokhar ran over Tamerlan with a stolen SUV while fleeing.
The older Tsarnaev’s body is being held at a Worcester funeral home, while the search for a burial plot continues. Several cemeteries have declined, according to Peter Stefan, owner of the Graham, Putnam and Mahoney Funeral Parlors.
The city manager of Cambridge, where the Tsarnaevs lived, said the community would be “adversely impacted” if the suspect were buried there.
Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick said Monday finding a gravesite was “the family’s issue,” not the responsibility of the state or federal government.
Tsarnaev’s parents, ethnic Chechens who returned to southern Russia several years ago, have suggested in various interviews and reports that their son should be buried in Cambridge or returned to Russia.
A Worcester resident, William Breault, started a fund to have Tsarnaev’s body sent to Russia, hoping to prevent a burial in Massachusetts.
Worcester police Sgt. Kerry Hazelhurst said the city’s police chief met with the funeral home director Tuesday, and expects to have a resolution soon.
“They’re quite confident that there will be a conclusion to settle this matter within the next couple of days,” Hazelhurst told the Globe. “The chief’s function today was to get the parties involved to meet, discuss, and try to find a solution to the problem. … I think all options are on the table right now.”
“The whole situation is unprecedented,” said David Walkinshaw, a spokesman for the Massachusetts Funeral Directors Association. “The challenge here is that there’s no way to demand a cemetery allow for a burial to take place.”
With additional reporting by Reuters. Follow Metro Boston on Twitter: @MetroBos