Man carjacked by Boston bombing suspects recalls his ordeal

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. - As the Boston Marathon bombing suspects were trying to get out of town, they hijacked a driver.

The man, who asked to be identified only as Danny, told his story to CBS News.

Three days after the bombing, Danny, a 26-year-old Chinese entrepreneur, had pulled over in his new Mercedes to text a friend when a man forced his way into the car at gunpoint.

"He asked me, 'Do you know the Boston Marathon bombing?' I said yes, I know. He asked then, 'Do you know who did this?' No. He said: 'I did that.'

"I couldn't believe it," Danny said.

The man was Tamerlan Tsarnaev. He and his brother, Dzhokhar, took Danny on a terrifying 90-minute ride.

Boston bombing carjack victim: "I thought they were going to kill me"
"I think about family, friends, dreams. I thought, 'I cannot die tonight,'" said Danny.

They stopped at a Shell gas station to fill up for what was going to be a long drive to New York to set off more bombs. Danny believed the brothers were going to kill him somewhere along the way.

"I was asking myself, 'Should I put my life in the hands of the terrorists or should I put my life in the hands of my own self?'"

Boston Marathon bombing moment of silence
Danny decided he had to save himself.

Tamerlan Tsarnaev briefly tucked his gun into the pocket of his door while Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was paying for the gas. Danny silently counted to four, then made his move. He quickly unbuckled his seat belt and was gone in a flash.

He ran to a convenience store across the street and yelled to the cashier for help.

"I begged him to call 911, please," Danny said. "I think he thought I'm crazy."

Still, the attendant did call the police to report the carjacking.

When the police arrived, Danny said they could track the Tsarnaevs with his car's satellite technology.

It was the turning point in a three-day manhunt, leading to a shootout with police that left Tamerlan Tsarnaev dead and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev wounded and soon to be captured.

"I don't feel like a hero," Danny said. "Because from my opinion, I was just trying to save myself."

Whatever motivated him, Danny's quick thinking almost surely prevented more bloodshed and terror.

  • Chip Reid

    Chip Reid is CBS News' national correspondent.