What We Know About the Boston Marathon Explosions

Mother Jones

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This explainer is being regularly updated; click here for the latest post or jump to these recent updates:

Watch video of the first and second blasts
Map: Where the explosions occurred along the marathon route
Full transcript and video of President Obama’s press conference
Three confirmed dead

On Monday, two blasts were reported near the finish line of the annual 26.2-mile Boston Marathon, resulting in at least two three dead and scores 132 injured, according to the Boston Police Department and news reports. The explosions—the first of which was on the north side of Boylston Street—occurred roughly three hours after the winners crossed the finish line. “There are a lot of people down,” runner Frank Deruyter of North Carolina told the Associated Press shortly after the explosions. The cause of the blasts were not initially known.

Here’s video of the incident, via MSNBC:

Here are two photos from the scene (warning: graphic):

David L. Ryan/Twitter

Jackie Bruno/Twitter

Here is the initial update from the Boston Marathon, via Facebook:

From the Boston Herald:

“I saw two explosions. The first one was beyond the finish line. I heard a loud bang and I saw smoke rising,” said Herald reporter Chris Cassidy, who was running in the marathon. “I kept running and I heard behind me a loud bang. It looked like it was in a trash can or something. That one was in front of Abe and Louie’s. There are people who have been hit with debris, people with bloody foreheads.”

In response to this news, New York City counterterrorism units have been dispatched. “We’re stepping up security at hotels and other prominent locations in the city through deployment of the NYPD’s critical response vehicles (CRVs) until more about the explosion is learned,” New York City Police Department Deputy Commissioner Paul J. Browne said in a statement Monday afternoon. Washington, DC, and Los Angeles security have also been put on high alert. The White House is in contact with state and local authorities in Boston and Massachusetts. “Our prayers are with those people in Boston who have suffered injuries. I don’t know how many there are,” Vice President Joe Biden said while on a conference call about gun legislation, when he was informed of the blasts.

More from the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency:

An intelligence official told the AP that two additional explosive devices were found at the Boston Marathon, and were being dismantled.

Via the New York Times, here is a street map of where the explosions occurred:

UPDATE, Monday, April 15, 4:40 p.m. EDT: Via NBC News broadcast, Alasdair K. Conn, MD, of Massachusetts General Hospital, said in a press conference that the hospital is treating six severely injured patients who required immediate resuscitation. They have 19 patients in total; 5 are “pretty badly off,” according to Conn. “This is like a bomb explosion we hear about in Baghdad or Israel,” he continued.

UPDATE 2, Monday, April 15, 4:44 p.m. EDT: Here is video of the second blast along the marathon route:

Here is footage of the initial blast near the finish line, via Boston.com

UPDATE 3, Monday, April 15, 5:02 p.m. EDT: Edward Davis, Boston police commissioner, said at a press conference today:

At 2:50 p.m. today, there were simultaneous explosions that occurred along the route of the Boston Marathon at the finish line. These explosions occurred 50 to 100 yards apart. Each scene resulted in multiple casualties. At this point in time all the victims shave been removed from the scene, we have sent officers to hospitals to be in touch with family members and possible witnesses. We immediately activated a system of response that the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and federal government has in place for these types of incidents…We have at this point in time determined that there has been a third incident that occurred. An explosion that occurred at the JFK library. This is very much an ongoing event at this time. We are not certain if these incidents are related, but we’re treating them as if they are.

There were no injuries at the JFK library that the police know of, per commissioner Davis.

If you are trying to locate someone, call: 617-635-4500. If you have any information about the explosions, call: 1-800-494-TIPS.

UPDATE 4, Monday, April 15, 5:22 p.m. EDT: A law enforcement official tells the AP that cellphone service was shut down in the Boston area “to prevent any potential remote detonations of explosives.” (However, some are casting serious doubts on this story, given reports of functioning cellphones and other factors.) The FAA announced a ground stop for Boston’s Logan airport.

UPDATE 5, Monday, April 15, 5:25 p.m. EDT: Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick has released the following statement:

This is a horrific day in Boston. My thoughts and prayers are with those who have been injured. I have been in touch with the President, Mayor Menino and our public safety leaders. Our focus is on making sure that the area around Copley Square is safe and secured. I am asking everyone to stay away from Copley Square and let the first responders do their jobs.

UPDATE 6, Monday, April 15, 5:47 p.m. EDT: Amtrak issued the following statement via Twitter, regarding the Boston Marathon explosions:

At this time all Amtrak trains are operating as scheduled. We will provide an update if this changes. We are increasing security at stations & track right-of-ways. We ask passengers to … report anything suspicious to 1-800-331-0008 or 911.

UPDATE 7, Monday, April 15, 6:16 p.m. EDT: President Obama held a press conference on the explosions, starting at 6:10 p.m. ET. “We still don’t know who did this or why, but make no mistake, we’ll get to the bottom of it,” the president said.

Here is the full text and video of Obama’s statement; the speech lasted about three-and-a-half minutes:

Good afternoon, everybody. Earlier today, I was briefed by my homeland security team on the events in Boston. We’re continuing to monitor and respond to the situation as it unfolds. And I’ve directed the full resources of the federal government to help state and local authorities protect our people, increase security around the United States as necessary, and investigate what happened.

The American people will say a prayer for Boston tonight. And Michelle and I send our deepest thoughts and prayers to the families of the victims in the wake of this senseless loss.

We don’t yet have all the answers. But we do know that multiple people have been wounded, some gravely, in explosions at the Boston Marathon.

I’ve spoken to FBI Director Mueller and Secretary of Homeland Security Napolitano, and they’re mobilizing the appropriate resources to investigate and to respond.

I’ve updated leaders of Congress in both parties, and we reaffirmed that on days like this there are no Republicans or Democrats — we are Americans, united in concern for our fellow citizens.

I’ve also spoken with Governor Patrick and Mayor Menino, and made it clear that they have every single federal resource necessary to care for the victims and counsel the families. And above all, I made clear to them that all Americans stand with the people of Boston.

Boston police, firefighters, and first responders as well as the National Guard responded heroically, and continue to do so as we speak. It’s a reminder that so many Americans serve and sacrifice on our behalf every single day, without regard to their own safety, in dangerous and difficult circumstances. And we salute all those who assisted in responding so quickly and professionally to this tragedy.

We still do not know who did this or why. And people shouldn’t jump to conclusions before we have all the facts. But make no mistake — we will get to the bottom of this. And we will find out who did this; we’ll find out why they did this. Any responsible individuals, any responsible groups will feel the full weight of justice.

Today is a holiday in Massachusetts — Patriots’ Day. It’s a day that celebrates the free and fiercely independent spirit that this great American city of Boston has reflected from the earliest days of our nation. And it’s a day that draws the world to Boston’s streets in a spirit of friendly competition. Boston is a tough and resilient town. So are its people. I’m supremely confident that Bostonians will pull together, take care of each other, and move forward as one proud city. And as they do, the American people will be with them every single step of the way.

You should anticipate that as we get more information, our teams will provide you briefings. We’re still in the investigation stage at this point. But I just want to reiterate we will find out who did this and we will hold them accountable.

Thank you very much.

UPDATE 8, Monday, April 15, 8:00 p.m. EDT: The New York Times is reporting three other unexploded devices, including one in Newton, which is on marathon route. CNN is reporting 132 bombing victims so far, and at least 10 amputations. Doctors are reportedly pulling ball bearings out of victims. One of the two three confirmed dead is an 8 year old boy. One bit of good news: The runners representing the families of the Newtown, Conn. mass shooting—including Laura Nowacki, whose daughter survived the shooting—are safe.

UPDATE 9, Monday, April 15, 9:00 p.m. EDT: There are now three confirmed dead. The FBI has taken the lead role in the investigation.

UPDATE 10, Monday, April 15, 9:15 p.m. EDT: Did you see this amazing picture taken by Boston Globe photographer John Tlumacki? He’d just finished running the marathon himself:

Now there’s a story about the runner on the ground, Bill Iffrig, who got up and finished. John Eligon, one of the writers of the lede New York Times piece, had also just run the marathon and somehow managed to file this story.

UPDATE 11, Monday, April 15, 9:15 p.m. EDT: A group called the NYC Light Brigade projected various NYC Loves Boston signs on the side of the Brooklyn Art Museum:


What We Know About the Boston Marathon Explosions

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