Graphic photos of the moment the alleged Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was captured have been leaked.
A tactical photographer for the Massachusetts State Police, Sgt. Sean Murphy, released the images to Boston Magazine in response to a Rolling Stone cover photo he said glamorized Tsarnaev.
Murphy acted without authorization, the BBC quoted a police spokesman as saying. He has since been relieved of his duties.
The images show Tsarnaev, accused along with his now-dead brother Tamerlan of detonating the bombs that killed three people, emerging dirty and bloodied from a dry-docked boat in a Watertown backyard on April 19, 2013.
The red dot of a police sniper's laser sight is trained on his forehead, and he appears to be near collapse.
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Murphy told Boston Magazine that his pictures showed the "real Boston bomber, not someone fluffed and buffed for the cover of Rolling Stone magazine."
John Wolfson, the editor-in-chief of Boston Magazine, wrote:
"Murphy wants the world to know that the Tsarnaev in the photos he took that night — defeated and barely alive, with the red dots of sniper rifles lighting up his forehead — is the real face of terrorism, not the handsome, confident young man shown on the magazine cover."
Rolling Stone readers also slammed the magazine on its own Facebook page, saying the cover had turned the accused killer into a "rock star."
Boston Mayor Thomas Menino even chimed in. The mayor wrote to Rolling Stone publisher Jann Wenner accusing the magazine of offering Tsarnaev "celebrity treatment" and calling the cover "ill-conceived, at best," in that it supports the "terrible message that destruction gains fame for killers and their 'causes.'"
Rolling Stone editors issued a statement saying that while their hearts went out to the bombing victims, the cover story was an attempt to grapple with an important issue:
"The fact that Dzhokhar Tsarnaev is young, and in the same age group as many of our readers, makes it all the more important for us to examine the complexities of this issue and gain a more complete understanding of how a tragedy like this happens."
Tsarnaev is facing a 30-count indictment — including 17 counts punishable by death — for his role in the deadly twin blasts that also wounded more than 260.