WATERTOWN, Mass. — Police officers and firefighters stood grim-faced with guns and rifles, lining the street leading to the suburban property where a suspect in twin bombings at the Boston Marathon was believed to be holed up.
Reporters and spectators lined up on the other side. The mood was tense, with the few neighbors venturing out hugging and crying as they heard bangs. Others merely looked on curiously.
Then, one officer slowly started clapping. Then it spread to the crowd. Then loud cheers broke out.
People in the crowd started asking, "Is he alive?" One of the officers nodded, yes. Any time a first responder emerged from the street, there was loud applause.
"They finally caught the jerk," said nurse Cindy Boyle, 41. "It was scary; it was tense." She said she knew when police started clapping that everything would be all right.
After the capture, celebratory bells rang from a church tower. Teenagers waved American flags. Every car that drove by honked. Every time an emergency vehicle went by, people cheered loudly.
Lois Johnson, a 49-year-old attorney, had spent the day inside with her son, so when the celebration started they came outside with a container of cookies they had baked and started handing them out.
Liz Rogers, also an attorney, took one of the pieces of yellow police tape and tied it around her neck like a necklace.
"When you see your town invaded like this, it's stunning," said Rogers, 65. "Everyone in Watertown is just so grateful that he's caught and that we're liberated."
In Boston's Dorchester neighborhood, home of an 8-year-old boy killed in the bombing, people set off fireworks Friday night to celebrate.
Earlier Friday, the manhunt brought life to a screeching halt in large swaths of the notoriously gridlocked Beantown, leaving residents and tourists alike frustrated and angry.
The Red Sox and the Bruins both scrapped their games. The famous Quincy Market at Faneuil Hall was closed, and there were more pigeons than tourists in City Hall Plaza. Even the Starbucks at Government Center was shuttered.
But after Dzhokhar Tasarnaev's arrest, the jubilation was widespread. Even at the home of the New York Mets, fans leapt to their feet and cheered when the news spread during a game against the Washington Nationals.
Hundreds of people marched down Commonwealth Avenue, chanting "USA" and singing the Red Sox anthem Sweet Caroline as they headed toward Boston Common. Police blocked traffic along part of the street to allow for the impromptu parade.
Earlier, the mood was somber. On Boylston Street, three blocks from the site of the marathon explosions on Monday, several dozen people gathered almost in complete silence. Some were crying.
Boston University student Aaron Wengertsman, 19, wrapped himself in an American flag as a silent crowd gathered. He was on the marathon route a mile from the finish line when the bombs exploded.
"I'm glad they caught him alive," Wengertsman said. "I thought people might be more excited, but it's humbling to see all these people paying their respects."
Bathed in the flashing lights from Kenmore Square's iconic rooftop Citgo sign, Boston University juniors Brendan Hathaway and Sam Howes high-fived strangers as they walked down the street.
"This was like our first opportunity to really be outside without feeling like there imminent danger," said Hathaway, a mechanical engineering student from nearby Newton. "It was close to home for me."