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Anchored by Jake Tapper, The Lead airs at 4 p.m. ET on CNN.

Anchored by Jake Tapper, The Lead airs at 4 p.m. ET on CNN.

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April 26th, 2013
06:46 PM ET

Boston carjacking victim was 'just trying to live'

One man, who asks to be called only by his English nickname, Danny, endured 90 minutes of horror when he was carjacked and held captive by the Boston bombing suspects. He first told his story to The Boston Globe.

Danny's bold escape helped put police on the suspects' trail. He is still incredibly shaken by the whole ordeal, but reached out to one of his former professors for advice.

"He wanted his story to be out there,"said Northeastern University criminology professor James Fox. Fox has been advising Danny through the ordeal.

Danny had pulled over to check a text message, when a sedan pulled up behind him.

"One of the alleged bombers got out ... knocked on the passenger window, Danny couldn't hear what he was saying, rolled down the window to hear, Tamerlan then reached inside, opened the door, pulled out a gun, got in the passenger seat, and pointed the gun at Danny," said Fox.

During the harrowing ride, Danny did a number of things to try and convince Tamerlan that his life should be spared. He emphasized he is from China, and that Chinese are very good to Muslims. He also downplayed how much the Mercedes SUV that he was driving cost. At first, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev continued to drive the sedan, trailing the SUV. But he eventually climbed into the car with Danny and Tamerlan.

"As long as that drive continued, over an hour and a half, there was interaction. There was talk about cell phones, and CD players, and girls. He became a person, and that was critical to his survival," said Fox.

But then Tamerlan asked how much gas was in the car. They found a Shell station. The stroke of luck for Danny was the gas pump did not take credit cards, it was cash only.

When Dzhokhar went into the gas station to get money from an ATM, Danny saw his chance to escape.

"One of his abductors was inside the Shell station. Tamerlan was sitting in the front, he didn't have the gun poised, it was in the side pocket. So in short order, Danny undid his seat belt, opened the car, and ran to the rear of the vehicle, crossing the street to the Mobil station," said Fox.

Danny took refuge in the Mobil gas station, telling an employee there what happened. The police come shortly after.

"Tamerlan actually asked if there was a GPS in the car, and Danny said no. Well, there was," said Fox.

That quick thinking lie helped authorities track down the suspects; the police used the GPS in Danny's car to locate the Tsarnaevs.

But Danny does not see himself as a hero.

"To him, the heroic ones are those who came to the aid of people who were suffering at the marathon. And the police. He was just trying to save himself," said Fox.

The investigation now reveals the Tsarnaevs planned to travel to New York, and detonate another bomb in Times Square.

"Inadvertently, it appears he may have saved countless other lives," said Fox.

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