Almost Every Police Officer in Massachusetts Is in Watertown Right Now

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April 19 2013 12:46 PM

Almost Every Police Officer in Massachusetts Is in Watertown Right Now

Boston
A Boston Police officer searches outside of South Station for suspicious material after two bullets were found outside of the T stop on April 19, 2013 in Boston, Massachusetts.

Photo by Kayana Szymczak/Getty Images

UPDATE, 1:25 p.m.: I’m now in Watertown, at the corner of Mount Auburn Street and Kimball Road, where the police have drawn a perimeter. There’s a huge line of reporters here—from Fox News, CNBC, and stations I never knew existed—doing stand-ups.

Lester Holt
NBC's Lester Holt doing a stand-up in Watertown.

Justin Peters

There’s not much going on behind them to talk about. The street is deserted except for some cop cars and caution tape. Elsewhere in the town, I’m seeing big groups of cops with rifles and wearing body armor going from house to house, presumably checking to see whether the suspect, 19-year-old Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, is anywhere in the vicinity. The cops are surrounding and going inside houses on Arlington Street. Nothing appears to be imminently dangerous. These look like routine sweeps.

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A minute or two ago, a sort of SWAT team was standing around in a public park, holding their rifles menacingly. They’ve since packed up. That team was from Plymouth. There are also cops here from Dennis, North Reading, Belmont, and naturally Watertown. It seems as if every police officer in the state of Massachusetts is here to assist in the search.

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Original post, 12:46 p.m.: BOSTON—As I left my place in Back Bay this morning, it hit me that this was the nicest day of the year. All I smelled were cherry blossoms. It’s windy—it’s gusting enough to knock over a bike—and there are a lot of clouds, but the sky behind them is perfectly blue.

On the ground, in the neighborhood of Allston and in Boston’s Kenmore Square, the streets are almost completely empty. The only people out and about are a handful of joggers and old people who seem not to have gotten the news that we’re in the midst of a huge crisis. There’s almost no traffic—most of the vehicles on the road are taxis. There are rakes down on the windows of every store. The only two businesses I’ve seen open are a solitary CVS and a Burger King in Allston that’s serving pedestrians at the drive-through window.

That Burger King is down the street from the Wai Kru mixed-martial-arts gym, the spot where Tamerlan Tsarnaev—the bombing suspect who’s now dead—trained as a boxer. The gym is a small store in a strip mall, next to a Laundromat and an instant oil change place. On the ground level, there are trophies, some heavy bags, a bunch of boxing gloves and MMA champion belts in a glass case, and a big sign celebrating a 2008 title in the New England Grappling Championship. Like every other business here, this one is empty. There’s a printed-out sign on this door that reads: “We will be closed today 4/19/13.”

Justin Peters is a writer for Slate. He is working on a book about Aaron Swartz, copyright, and the rise of “free culture.” Email him at justintrevett@fastmail.fm.

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