BOSTON – A friend of Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev is believed to have provided the handgun used to kill a Massachusetts Institute of Technology police officer during the manhunt, people with knowledge of the investigation said Tuesday.
Stephen Silva made an initial appearance in federal court on charges related to heroin trafficking and possession of a handgun with an obliterated serial number. An attorney for Silva, Jonathan Shapiro, said Tuesday evening that he had received the case only a few hours earlier.
“According to news reports, law-enforcement officials say it is the same weapon that was used … in the MIT officer Sean Collier shooting. However, this has not been charged in the indictment,” Shapiro said.
The 9mm Ruger pistol described in the indictment is the same handgun used to kill MIT police officer Sean Collier during the manhunt for the bombing suspects, according to two people, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the investigation.
The origin of the gun was among the mysteries of the investigation into the April 2013 attack, in which three people were killed and more than 260 were injured when twin bombs exploded near the finish line. Collier, a 26-year-old MIT campus police officer, was ambushed several days later and shot multiple times in his car.
According to the indictment, Silva knowingly had possession of the gun, “which had the importer’s and manufacturer’s serial number removed, obliterated, and altered and had previously been shipped and transported in interstate and foreign commerce.”
Silva said in court Tuesday that he graduated from Cambridge Rindge and Latin School in 2011, the same year as Tsarnaev. Silva was ordered to remain in custody ahead of a bail hearing scheduled for Aug. 6.