Three people dead, including an 8-year-old boy, and at least 183 people, including eight children, were injured Monday after two explosions blasted through the crowd at the finish line of the Boston Marathon.
According to USA News, the source of the explosions was announced by marathon organizers. They occurred one after another at about 2:50 p.m. on Boylston Street near the intersection of Exeter Street, three hours after the winner had crossed the finish line. Billows of smoke as a result of the blasts turned the site of celebration into chaos and a mess of destruction at Copley Square. The explosion had also blown out nearby storefronts and sent shrapnel flying. The race was immediately stopped as well as the subway service into the area.
The bloodied spectators were taken to the medical tents, intended for the runners. Of the victims, 23 were at one point in critical condition and 40 were in serious condition. Thirteen of the injured had lost limbs, either by the explosion or by amputation, and many are suffering from severe burns. At least one police officer was hurt. The scene was described as a bloody and terrifying massacre.
According to ABC News, the Boston Police set off a third bomb before 4 p.m. on Monday at the John F. Kennedy Library which is 5 miles southeast of the marathon. Officials say that it is not linked with the earlier two explosions. The police were sweeping the area, checking dozens of bags left behind by runners who evacuated the area after the explosion.
Security precautions are being taken elsewhere beyond Boston. The front of the White House has been blocked off to pedestrians and security has also been heightened. The New York Police Department has also stepped up security around landmarks in Manhattan, including nearby prominent hotels. New York Police are also re-deploying counter-terrorism vehicles around the city.
“This is a horrific day in Boston,” Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick said in a statement.
“My thoughts and prayers are with those who have been injured. I have been in touch with the President, Mayor (Thomas) 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.”
More than 26,000 runners were registered to participate in this year’s marathon. The marathon clock was a little after the four hour mark at the time of the explosions. This is the average time it takes for a runner to cross the finish line, potentially putting the greatest number of competitors at risk.
Martin Richard, an 8-year-old boy from Dorchester Boston, was one of the victims killed in the bombing. His mother, Denise is in critical condition and just went underwent surgery for a brain injury. His younger sister, who is 6-years-old, lost her leg in the tragic explosion.
According to CNN News, police are advising that people stay home and away from large crowded areas. President Obama has been notified and is in contact with state and local authorities. He has also directed his administration to provide whatever assistance is needed in the investigation and response. Troops from the Massachusetts National Guard are also assisting the police.
The FBI has taken control of the investigation. They have warned law enforcement officers to be on the lookout for a “darker-skinned or black male” with a possible foreign accent. The man was last seen with a black backpack and sweatshirt and was trying to get into a restricted area just minutes before the explosion.
According to CNN News, the FBI is currently trying to recreate the bombs used in the explosions. Officials say that the devices were pressure cookers filled with C-4 and shrapnel, which was hidden in backpacks. The FBI also believes that it was likely detonated by a timer. At this time it is still unclear as to what the plot behind the attack was and if it was a foreign or domestic attack.
Check back for the latest coverage and more information as the story develops.