Multiple outlets, law enforcement officials, and President Obama are responding with news that a horrific looking scene made clear on Monday in downtown Boston, even as a frenzied search for more potential explosive devices continued and hospitals rushed to help survivors: The finish line at the Boston Marathon was bombed twice in what is being described as a coordinated "event" with perhaps at least 78 and perhaps as many as 120 people brutally injured and at least two dead, apparently including a young child. Indeed, there was not much good news on Monday, April 15.
The FBI has taken over "a potential terrorist investigation," FBI special agent in charge Richard DesLauriers said at a Monday evening press conference. "There is no suspect" at the hospital, said Boston Police commissioner Ed Davis, despite reports to the contrary. When asked if there was a person of interest at the hospital, DesLauriers declined to comment; he also declined to comment on a Wall Street Journal report that there were "five additional, undetonated advices around the Boston area." Davis confirmed that "at least three people have died" in the marathon bombing. Governor Deval Patrick said "we are asking that everyone be at a state of heightened vigilance" as Boston re-opened on Tuesday, though he said it "will not be business as usual."
At a late afternoon press conference with Patrick, Davis initially reported a third explosion at JFK Library in Boston, which has since been given the all-clear as a separate fire. At a second police briefing, Davis said "we have no suspect in custody," as CNN reported that the FBI had classified the event as a terrorist attack. Senate Intelligence Committee Chair Dianne Feinstein classified it as a "terrorist incident" that "could be be foreign, could be homegrown." Early Monday evening, officials said that they've found five additional devices, a clear indication that things could've been much worse.
At a White House briefing shortly after 6 p.m. Eastern time on a quiet day in Washington, President Obama reiterated that federal and local investigators are still in the investigation phase. He did not use the words "terror" or "terrorist" or "attack," instead using the words "unnecessary loss" — "America will say a prayer for Boston tonight," he said — before delivering a more forceful message:
We don't yet have all the answers ...We still do not know who did this or why... But make no mistake we will get to the bottom of this. We will find out who did this ... and any responsible groups will feel the full weight of justice.
Boston authorities and Gov. Patrick was schedule for another briefing around 7 p.m., which has since been rescheduled to around 8:30. You can follow the Boston police scanner right here.
After two explosions hit at around 2:50 p.m.Boston Police confirmed at least two dead — NBC News cited law enforcement officials as saying one was an eight-year old child — and 28 injuries. ABC News is reporting that the explosions were triggered by remote detonation.
Meanwhile, there were gruesome images from the street to makeshift tents and Boston hospitals of lost limbs, hair on fire, children with severe burns, and worse. Again Boston police and marathon officials have confirmed that there were at least three explosions they were investigating, including the JFK library.
The Third Explosion and Other Devices
A Boston Globe photographer reported that he heard but did not see the third explosion, and Boston police were scrambling to contain the scene. "There were two booms heard from near the finish line inside the Fairmont Copley Plaza Hotel," reports the AP. And there are reports that another device has been found and will be detonated:
BREAKING NEWS: Police will have controlled explosion on 600 block on Boylston Street— Boston.com News (@BostonDotCom) April 15, 2013
According to the AP and an unnamed intelligence official, two more devices are reportedly being defused: "Intelligence official: 2 more explosive devices found at Boston Marathon; being dismantled." And The Boston Globe is reporting there was another device found near Harvard:
UPDATE: Another suspicious package was reported near the Harvard #MBTA station— The Boston Globe (@BostonGlobe) April 15, 2013
NBC Nightly News is reporting that law enforcement officials say that a "small homemade bomb" was the cause of the explosion though officials have not officially confirmed this:
BREAKING: Small homemade bomb is preliminary cause of explosion at Boston Marathon, law enforcement officials tell NBC News— NBC Nightly News (@nbcnightlynews) April 15, 2013
Here's a map of the frenzy of multiple reported incidents about unconfirmed devices, fires, and all the explosions today, both alleged and confirmed, for a sense of scale in downtown Boston and beyond:
The Pictures and Video of the Explosion
Here are a couple of many images flowing in from social media current scene there:
Explosion at coply twitter.com/Boston_to_a_T/…— Boston to a T (@Boston_to_a_T) April 15, 2013
And one more:
I saw people's legs blown off. Horrific. Two explosions. Runners were coming in and saw unspeakable horror.— Jackie Bruno (@JackieBrunoNECN) April 15, 2013
To be sure, has set up a perimeter around the White House) as there are graphic images.
A picture from the Boston Globe:
Here are more photos from The Atlantic's In Focus blog.
According The Boston Globe, there are dozens injured though there are varying reports on the number of injuries:
BREAKING NEWS: At least dozens of people have been seriously injured, a Globe staffer on the scene says.— The Boston Globe (@BostonGlobe) April 15, 2013
And here's video of the explosion:
And here's another close-up video from the explosions:
Here's yet another angle. And here is the photo of Obama on the phone with FBI Director Robert Mueller (via Official White House Photo by: Pete Souza):
As some on Twitter are pointing out, the 26th mile marker in this year's marathon was actually dedicated to the victims of Newtown, and while there is no confirmed proof that the explosions were from devices, there is a report gleaned from a scanner that there was a device in a trashcan. Our Richard Lawson, a Boston native, describes the scene of the end of the marathon:
Marathon Monday is one of Boston's most celebratory days, with schools and offices closed and people lining the streets cheering runners on for essentially all 26.2 miles of a course which works its way further and further into town. By the time the Boston Marathon reaches the final stretch down narrow Boylston Street, it has entered the busy commercial district of Copley Square. The historic Boston Public Library is on the runners' right, ahead of them the open area of Copley Square Park and the famous Trinity Church. And of course the culmination of all that is the final downtown stretch, as spirited and jovial a scene as there is in Boston at any time throughout the year. The crowd on marathon day is dense and varied — locals and tourists and running enthusiasts from all over show up hours ahead to secure a good view of the finish line. And of course, there are the runners themselves, still streaming across the finish line for hours after the big winners are crowned. —Richard Lawson
And here's a live stream from CBS (we're not exactly sure what the station will be showing, so please be warned that there could be some graphic material):
This is a developing story, and we'll have more as news and details come in.