Bombings near Marathon finish
A day of celebration for the runners turns tragic as two bombs explode near the finish line on Monday afternoon
The following story was completed prior to the events early this morning. At the time of publication, according to the Boston Globe, it appears that one suspect in the Boston Marathon bombings has been captured. The two suspects were chased to Watertown by police, and one suspect is still on the loose. It is unclear if these events are related to the shooting near the Stata Center. For more information, see our coverage in this issue.
Two bombs went off Monday at 2:50 p.m. near the finish line of the 117th Boston Marathon, killing three people and injuring over 170. The FBI have traced the attacks to two suspects, who were seen by security cameras carrying large bags on Monday afternoon. It is unknown whether the plot was domestic or foreign.
The blasts came near the end of the marathon, over four hours in, after many runners had passed the finish line. Thousands, however, were still running.
Jonathan S. Katz G, who was running in the marathon, was around Cleveland Circle and Boston College when the bomb went off. “I went by mile 23, 24, and 25, all the water stations, all the volunteers, it was business as usual. You couldn’t notice anything,” he said.
But when he got to Storrow Drive, he ran into a bottleneck.
At first he thought people were just standing in the path of the marathon. “No one said anything,” Katz recalls.
Lauren D. Lo ’13 and Sarah L. Sprague ’13, actually heard the explosion. After they finished the race, they “heard a really loud thunder clap.” Lo initially brushed it off as a construction sound, but when she heard the second one, “we knew something was wrong,” she said. As she and Sprague tried to move towards Kenmore and the AXO house (with which both women are affiliated), they saw people running in the opposite direction.
“Some were crying, others were frantically trying to use their cell phones,” Lo recounted. “I stopped a stranger and asked what had happened. She told me that two explosions had gone off by the finish line.” Lo and Sprague realized they needed to get home to safety immediately, but as they passed Mass Ave. and Newbury Street, they were startled by a policewoman near an abandoned postal truck screaming, “GET AWAY FROM THE VAN. EVERYONE PLEASE MOVE AND GET AWAY FROM THE VAN.”
“All I remember was running for dear life in the opposite direction and screaming at everyone to get away,” Lo said. It took the two an hour to get home, but they made it safely.
In the pictures released by the FBI yesterday evening, Suspect No. 1 wears a dark hat, and Suspect No. 2 a white hat. FBI have identified Suspect No. 2 planting a bomb within minutes of it going off, said Special Agent Richard DesLauriers, who is in charge of the Boston FBI office. Afterwards, Suspect No. 2 went west on Boylston, while it is unclear where suspect No. 1 went. A video is available on the Boston Globe, and the authorities plan to release more images soon.
The bomb sites were closed to the public in the days following the explosion. As of Thursday night, a 10-block area in Back Bay remained closed. Boylston is still closed, as are side streets between Newbury Street and Huntington Avenue.
Contrary to reports on Wednesday afternoon, no suspect has been arrested for the marathon bombings. Spectators and journalists who gathered at the Moakley courthouse on Wednesday to wait for a possible arraignment of a suspect in the bombing were evacuated after a bomb threat on the building. Federal officials confirmed no arrest had been made.
According to police reports, the suspects were carrying large, black nylon backpacks with the explosives inside. The FBI believes the explosives were pressure cookers stuffed with explosives, ball bearings, and nails.
President Obama visited Boston yesterday afternoon to attend the memorial service for the victims at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross. He spent the day at Massachusetts General Hospital visiting families. Michelle Obama is expected to make the same rounds as well.
The president signed an emergency declaration for Massachusetts on Wednesday afternoon so that federal aid could assist with local response.
In a statement on Monday, Obama swore that “Any responsible individuals, any responsible groups will feel the full weight of justice.”
The three dead include eight-year-old Martin Richard of Boston, Krystle Campbell, 29, of Arlington, and Lingzi Lu, a Boston University graduate student. The Boston Globe reported that 14 people have lost their limbs, and many others have severe injuries. As of Wednesday night, 62 people remained in the hospital, and 12 were in critical condition.
Authorities are urging citizens who know anything about the suspects to assist in the investigation. The FBI can be reached by 1-800-CALL-FBI or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
On Facebook, the Boston Police Department posted, “No tip is too small or insignificant. Help us locate and identify these individuals. Any and all information is encouraged and appreciated.” People are encouraged to submit photos, videos, and other information to the FBI.
“The person who did this is someone’s friend, neighbor, co-worker, or relative,” said DesLauriers in a press conference Tuesday afternoon. “Cooperation from the community will play a crucial role in this investigation.”
DesLauriers also emphasized that investigators were looking to speak with anyone who was in front of the Forum restaurant on Monday afternoon, the site of one of the explosions.
Effect on students
Several students from local universities were injured on Monday, reported the Boston Globe. There were three from Tufts University, seven from Emerson College, three from Northeastern University, two from Berklee College of Music, and one from Boston University.
While no MIT students, faculty, or staff were physically hurt in the blast, the explosions had deep repercussions in the community. See The Tech’s story on page 12 for details of MIT’s response.
In an email to all of MIT on Monday evening, President L. Rafael Reif reminded the community that “times like these require that we stay together and take care of each other.”
According the Boston Marathon’s website, the marathon is the oldest annual marathon in the world. Supporters are already rallying for next year, and more people are hoping to enter the race. During his speech yesterday, Obama bet that next year’s marathon would be even larger.“We’ve had 116 years of incident-free marathon,” reminded Thomas Menino, Boston’s mayor, on Tuesday. “This is a painful and tragic lesson… but next year’s marathon will be bigger and better.”
Joanna Kao contributed reporting to this article.