The riveting story of the Boston Marathon bombing and the ensuing manhunt led to a 32-year-old powerboat still tucked away for the winter in a suburban backyard.
Now one of the most well-known boats in the world, David Henneberry’s 24-foot Seabird, named Slip Away II, was riddled with bullets during a police standoff last Friday with suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, who had hidden in the shrink-wrapped boat.
While the nation still grieves the three people killed during the bombing, as well as the police officer who was shot and killed, Henneberry finds himself a reluctant hero for alerting police to the fugitive simply because he noticed something was awry with his meticulously cared for boat.
A campaign was launched Saturday by Craig Dunlap, of Texas, on Crowdtilt — a site designed to make pooling money simple — that asks donors to give until $50,000 is raised to replace or restore Henneberry’s boat.
As of Thursday, nearly $14,000 had been pledged on the “Let’s Fix David Henneberry’s Boat” site.
Henneberry, breaking days of silence, gave an exclusive interview to Boston TV station WCVB and said he’s flattered by the gesture but that the money would be better spent elsewhere.
Click play to watch the WCVB interview.
"It makes me feel wonderful that people are thinking like that, but it is my boat. People lost lives and lost limbs. I'd rather that [the money] go to The One Fund Boston,” he told the TV news reporter. “To buy me a new boat is a wonderful thing. I don't want that, really. They lost limbs. I lost a boat.”
The One Fund Boston site, established specifically to “help the people most affected by the tragic events that occurred in Boston on April 15, 2013,” has collected more than $23.6 million in donations.
BoatUS posted on its Facebook page: “We applaud Mr. Henneberry’s courage and thank him for what he did to assist the authorities in apprehending the suspect. We understand the boat is insured, so we have chosen to refrain from grass-roots fundraising activities.”
Watertown police Lt. Michael Lawn told Soundings that the boat is in federal hands. The FBI said it wouldn’t comment even generally regarding what happens with property confiscated as evidence because of the high profile of this investigation.
"Slip Away is slipping away, but I say it did its job,” Henneberry told WCBV. “It held a bad guy and is going away like a Viking ship."
Piers Morgan of CNN interviewed WCVB news anchor Ed Hardy, who landed the exclusive interview. Click here for that interview.