Boston Marathon bombing kills 3, injures over 140

Boston Marathon bombing kills 3, injures over 140

April 16th, 2013 by Associated Press in Local - Breaking News

Medical responders run an injured man past the finish line the 2013 Boston Marathon following an explosion in Boston, Monday, April 15, 2013. Two explosions shattered the euphoria of the Boston Marathon finish line on Monday, sending authorities out on the course to carry off the injured while the stragglers were rerouted away from the smoking site of the blasts. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)

Photo by Associated Press/Times Free Press.

An unidentified Boston Marathon runner is comforted as she cries in the aftermath of two blasts which exploded near the finish line of the Boston Marathon on Monday.

Photo by Associated Press/Times Free Press.

Lawmakers suggest terrorism involved

WASHINGTON - With little official information to guide them, members of Congress said Monday there was scant or no doubt that the deadly Boston Marathon explosions were acts of terrorism and vowed to bring anyone responsible to justice.

"We just don't know whether it's foreign or domestic," said Rep. Michael McCaul, R-Texas, chairman of the House Committee on Homeland Security.

"My understanding is that it's a terrorist incident," Sen. Dianne Feinstein told reporters, saying she had been in contact with U.S. intelligence agencies. Feinstein, who chairs the Senate Intelligence Committee, said intelligence officials reported no advance warning that "there was an attack on the way."

Sen. Saxby Chambliss of Georgia, the senior Republican on the panel, issued a written statement that said, "As the evidence mounts that this was a terrorist attack, our intelligence and law enforcement agencies must do whatever is necessary to find and interrogate those responsible so we can prevent similar attacks."

The remarks stood in contrast to President Barack Obama's own brief statement at the White House, where he made no mention of terrorists or terrorism as a possible cause of the bombings.

Two other members of the intelligence panel, Sens. Susan Collins, R-Maine, and Angus King, I-Maine, said "initial news reports that multiple improvised explosive devices may have been involved at this high profile national event bear the hallmarks of a terrorist attack."

McCaul spoke with reporters in the House, and said he had talked with federal and state officials in the hours since the attack that he said "had all the hallmarks of terrorism."

Members of the House and Senate intelligence committees said they expected to be briefed on the attack on Tuesday.

Majority Leader Harry Reid said on the Senate floor that Obama had spoken with officials in Massachusetts and "pledged every federal resource available ... to bring justice to the perpetrators...."

House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi said "we will ensure that justice will be done" as the casualty toll mounted in explosions blamed for at least two deaths and dozens of injuries.

Lawmakers in both houses marked the bombings with moments of silence.

Reid led the Senate in a brief pause, and officials said Speaker John Boehner intended to do the same when the House convened later Monday.

In a written statement, Boehner said: "This is a terrible day for all Americans, but we will carry on in the American spirit, and come together with grace and strength."

BOSTON - Two bombs exploded in the crowded streets near the finish line of the Boston Marathon on Monday, killing at least three people and injuring more than 140 in a bloody scene of shattered glass and severed limbs that raised alarms that terrorists might have struck again in the U.S.

A White House official speaking on condition of anonymity because the investigation was still unfolding said the attack was being treated as an act of terrorism.

President Barack Obama vowed that those responsible will "feel the full weight of justice."

As many as two unexploded bombs were also found near the end of the 26.2-mile course as part of what appeared to be a well-coordinated attack, but they were safely disarmed, according to a senior U.S. intelligence official, who also spoke on condition of anonymity because of the continuing investigation.

The fiery twin blasts took place about 10 seconds and about 100 yards apart, knocking spectators and at least one runner off their feet, shattering windows and sending dense plumes of smoke rising over the street and through the fluttering national flags lining the route. Blood stained the pavement, and huge shards were missing from window panes as high as three stories.

"They just started bringing people in with no limbs," said runner Tim Davey of Richmond, Va. He said he and his wife, Lisa, tried to shield their children's eyes from the gruesome scene inside a medical tent that had been set up to care for fatigued runners, but "they saw a lot."

"They just kept filling up with more and more casualties," Lisa Davey said. "Most everybody was conscious. They were very dazed."

As the FBI took charge of the investigation, authorities shed no light on a motive or who may have carried out the bombings, and police said they had no suspects in custody. Officials in Washington said there was no immediate claim of responsibility.

WBZ-TV reported late Monday that law enforcement officers were searching an apartment in the Boston suburb of Revere. Massachusetts State Police confirmed that a search warrant related to the investigation into the explosions was served Monday night in Revere but provided no further details.

Police said three people were killed. An 8-year-old boy was among the dead, according to a person who talked to a friend of the family and spoke on condition of anonymity. The person said the boy's mother and sister were also injured as they waited for his father to finish the race.

Hospitals reported at least 144 people injured, at least 17 of them critically. The victims' injuries included broken bones, shrapnel wounds and ruptured eardrums.

At Massachusetts General Hospital, Alasdair Conn, chief of emergency services, said: "This is something I've never seen in my 25 years here ... this amount of carnage in the civilian population. This is what we expect from war."

Some 23,000 runners took part in the race, one of the world's oldest and most prestigious marathons.

One of Boston's biggest annual events, the race winds up near Copley Square, not far from the landmark Prudential Center and the Boston Public Library. It is held on Patriots Day, which commemorates the first battles of the American Revolution, at Concord and Lexington in 1775.

Boston Police Commissioner Edward Davis asked people to stay indoors or go back to their hotel rooms and avoid crowds as bomb squads methodically checked parcels and bags left along the race route. He said investigators didn't know whether the bombs were hidden in mailboxes or trash cans.

He said authorities had received "no specific intelligence that anything was going to happen" at the race.

The Federal Aviation Administration barred low-flying aircraft within 3.5 miles of the site.

"We still don't know who did this or why," Obama said at the White House, adding, "Make no mistake: We will get to the bottom of this."

With scant official information to guide them, members of Congress said there was little or no doubt it was an act of terrorism.

"We just don't know whether it's foreign or domestic," said Rep. Michael McCaul, R-Texas, chairman of the House Committee on Homeland Security.

A few miles away from the finish line and around the same time, a fire broke out at the John F. Kennedy Library. The police commissioner said that it may have been caused by an incendiary device but that it was not clear whether it was related to the bombings.

The first explosion occurred on the north side of Boylston Street, just before the finish line, and some people initially thought it was a celebratory cannon blast.

When the second bomb went off, spectators' cheers turned to screams. As sirens blared, emergency workers and National Guardsmen who had been assigned to the race for crowd control began climbing over and tearing down temporary fences to get to the blast site.

The bombings occurred about four hours into the race and two hours after the men's winner crossed the finish line. By that point, more than 17,000 of the athletes had finished the marathon, but thousands more were still running.

The attack may have been timed for maximum carnage: The four-hour mark is typically a crowded time near the finish line because of the slow-but-steady recreational runners completing the race and because of all the friends and relatives clustered around to cheer them on.

Runners in the medical tent for treatment of dehydration or other race-related ills were pushed out to make room for victims of the bombing.

A woman who was a few feet from the second bomb, Brighid Wall, 35, of Duxbury, said that when it exploded, runners and spectators froze, unsure of what to do. Her husband threw their children to the ground, lay on top of them and another man lay on top of them and said, "Don't get up, don't get up."

After a minute or so without another explosion, Wall said, she and her family headed to a Starbucks and out the back door through an alley. Around them, the windows of the bars and restaurants were blown out.

She said she saw six to eight people bleeding profusely, including one man who was kneeling, dazed, with blood trickling down his head. Another person was on the ground covered in blood and not moving.

"My ears are zinging. Their ears are zinging," Wall said. "It was so forceful. It knocked us to the ground."

Competitors and race volunteers were crying as they fled the chaos. Authorities went onto the course to carry away the injured, while race stragglers were rerouted away from the smoking site.

Roupen Bastajian, a state trooper from Smithfield, R.I., had just finished the race when he heard the blasts.

"I started running toward the blast. And there were people all over the floor," he said. "We started grabbing tourniquets and started tying legs. A lot of people amputated. ... At least 25 to 30 people have at least one leg missing, or an ankle missing, or two legs missing."

The race honored the victims of the Newtown, Conn., shooting with a special mile marker in Monday's race.

Boston Athletic Association president Joanne Flaminio previously said there was "special significance" to the fact that the race is 26.2 miles long and 26 people died at Sandy Hook Elementary School.