Federal Courthouse in Boston Evacuated

Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
April 17 2013 3:49 PM

Federal Courthouse in Boston Evacuated

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A Boston police officer stands guard Tuesday at a memorial site at Boylston and Arlington streets along the course of the Boston Marathon

Photo by Don Emmert/AFP/Getty Images

BOSTON—Outside the John Joseph Moakley United States Courthouse in South Boston, hundreds of reporters and onlookers are standing on the sidewalk, waiting for a suspect to arrive. Now, with everyone walking back their reports about an arrest, that doesn't look like it's going to happen. What is happening is that all of us are being pushed back across the street to a parking lot as the building has been cleared and K9 squads get to work sniffing cars, presumably for bombs. The courthouse has been cleared of personnel. Two fire trucks have arrived, as have multiple police cars. Men in U.S. Marshals jackets, Boston city cops, firemen, and Homeland Security agents walk the perimeter as helicopters circle overhead. Reporters (including me) stand on cement parking barriers to get a better look at what's happening; one man, oddly, cradles a football. In conclusion, nobody here has any idea what's going on. That seems to be happening a lot today.

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.