A scary and uncertain story unfolded Monday afternoon in Boston, where twin explosions near the finish line of the Boston Marathon killed three people and injured at least 170 others, prompting fears of terrorism and leaving Americans grappling with the nation's latest act of mass violence.
One of the dead is reportedly 8-year-old Martin Richard, whose mother and sister also suffered serious injuries. The Dorchester Reporter, a local newspaper in Boston, reported Tuesday that the three were watching the race near the finish line when the blasts went off. Richard's seven-year-old sister, Jane, suffered a grievous injury to her leg, and his mother, Denise, underwent emergency surgery to save her life, according to the paper.
President Obama addressed the public late Tuesday morning for the second time since the blasts. "This was a heinous and cowardly act and given what we now know about what took place, the FBI is investigating it as an act of terrorism. Anytime bombs are used to target innocent civilians, it is an act of terror," he said, describing the attack specifically as terrorism for the first time. "What we don't yet know however is who carried out this attack or why, whether it was planned by a terrorist organization, foreign or domestic, or whether it was the act of a malevolent individual."
At a morning press conference, local and federal authorities offered few new details about the search for those responsible for the bombing. "This remains a very active investigation," FBI special agent Richard DesLauriers said, adding that there are "no known additional threats."
The Associated Press and other outlets, citing unnamed intelligence officials, reported Monday that police had found two other undetonated explosive devices near the race course, a report that Gov. Deval Patrick refuted on Tuesday morning.* "Two and only two explosive devices were found yesterday," he said.
The FBI took charge of the investigation Monday night and is working with state and local authorities. Late Monday officers searched a suburban apartment but have offered no information about what, if anything, they found.
No one has come forward to claim responsibility for the blasts and the Boston Police Department says it has no suspects in custody. The Boston Globe reported late Monday evening that police were questioning a "person of interest," although that classification provides little information other than to suggest authorities are interviewing someone.
For those who haven't seen video of the blasts, here it is:
From a few other angles:
And a first-person view from what appears to be a runner who was nearing the finish when the first blast occurred:
The explosion and the aftermath were also captured on camera by a number of reporters near the scene. The Boston Globe's John Tlumacki snapped what so far has been the most iconic of the photos pouring in over Twitter:
NECN's Jackie Bruno was also among the first reporters to post photos, including this one of the immediate aftermath:
We were so close it was scary. Felt the force of the explosion. People were fleeing and victims were scattered. twitter.com/JackieBrunoNEC…— Jackie Bruno (@JackieBrunoNECN) April 15, 2013
Moments before she offered an even more grisly assessment: "I saw people's legs blown off. Horrific. Two explosions. Runners were coming in and saw unspeakable horror."
Here's a snapshot from Google Maps to give you an idea of where the finish line is:
You can view more photos from the Boston bombing here. Warning: a few are quite graphic.
*Correction: An earlier version of this post misidentified Deval Patrick as the mayor of Boston. He is the governor of Massachusetts.