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John Miller: Now, is Tamerlan sitting next to you in the car? Is he standing outside the car?
Danny: He was sitting next to me. He was on the, uh, driver’s seat, I was on the passenger seat.
John Miller: So this, you think, this is your chance.
Danny: This is my chance. So, I was… struggling, you know, should I do this? Should I do this? Becau [sic]… another good thing for me is the door was unlocked. The only thing I have to do is, use my left hand to unfasten the seatbelt, use my right hand to open the door.
John Miller: So, the thing that you’ve been rehearsing in your mind, three steps, is now down to two.
Danny: Down to two, yeah. So, that’s [unintelligible] I found that Tamerlan used both his hands, like, play, like, doing some GPS thing, or something. So, I think it’s very good for me.
[YouTube version: includes comment that Tamerlan was “fiddling” with GPS.]
John Miller: So he’s got, he’s got the gun in the side pocket of the door, he’s got a GPS, his brother’s in the gas station, and you say… the time is now.
Danny: Yeah, yeah…the time is now, you know.
John Miller: So how do you do that in your head? Do you say, 123…?
Danny: I was, I was counting- I was counting, I went, 1234. And I… just do it! And ah, I did it.
John Miller: So what happens?
Danny: I jump out of the, jump, jump out of the, the vehicle, and I close the door, and I can feel, Tamerlan was trying to grab me, he didn’t touch me, but I could feel him trying to grab me.
John Miller: And now you’re runnin’.
Danny: I was run. I was runnin’, I was running.
Conflicting version 3: The New York Times version
As if it weren’t enough to discover these totally incompatible versions of whether he was carjacked at all, and if so, for how long, and whether he escaped or was released, there is yet another variation, courtesy of the “newspaper of record,” The New York Times, the preferred go-to place for official leaks.
The article appeared on April 20 under the bylines of two Washington-based, veteran national security reporters. In the piece, almost entirely based on a narrative delivered to the world’s most influential news organization by an unnamed source identified only as a “senior law enforcement official,” the official explains that
“It was only after the suspects decided not to kill the owner of a sport utility vehicle that had been carjacked and instead threw him out of his car around 1 a.m. — a decision that ultimately undid their plans to elude the authorities — that they re-emerged on the authorities’ radar.”
It is certainly interesting that in this interview, presumably viewed as crucial, and conducted within a day or so of the carjacking, a highly briefed official would get “wrong” such a central fact as Danny’s manner of parting with the brothers.
The Times account may have been the first “official” story of what happened. It would be many days before Danny’s revised account of a dramatic escape would emerge. (If the Times ever published an explanation of how it got this so “wrong” in comparison with the eventual official narrative, we could not find it.)
Also, in Danny’s revised account, there is no mention that the suspects “decide[d] not to kill” him. Indeed, he said they made clear from the outset that they would not harm him. Putting together elements of these two different accounts, one could conclude that, in fact, the hijackers always meant not to harm him but only to use his car to escape what they took to be their own certain deaths if they remained in town during a police manhunt spurred by a “cop killing” that they had reason to think they would be accused of.