BOSTON (WWLP-AP) - Three people have died, and 176 people have been wounded following two explosions near the finish line of the Boston Marathon on Monday. Seventeen of those injured are in critical condition, and one of the deceased is an eight year-old child.
Boston Police Commissioner Edward Davis said that there two explosions nearly simultaneously near the finish line on Boylston Street Monday afternoon. No arrests have yet been made and no suspects or groups have been named, but several people have been questioned.
During a news conference at the White House on Monday evening, President Obama said that it remains unclear who is responsible for this attack, but they are working tirelessly to find and punish those responsible.
"Make no mistake, we'll get to the bottom of this," Obama said. He said that those responsible will "feel the full weight of justice."
A White House official speaking on condition of anonymity because the investigation was still unfolding told the Associated Press that the attack was being treated as an act of terrorism. No groups have claimed any responsibility for the attack.
Police are going over surveillance video from near the explosion sites, but they are reaching-out for public help. If you have any information about what happened, you are urged to call (800) 494-TIPS.
Our Boston sister station WHDH-TV has identified one of the victims as eight year-old Martin Richard of Dorchester . He was at the Marathon with his mother and six year-old sister, cheering on their father who was running. Richard's mother had to have brain surgery following the explosion, and his sister lost her leg.
Following the blasts, competitors and race volunteers were crying as they fled the chaos. Bloody spectators were being carried to the medical tent that had been set up to care for fatigued runners.
"They just started bringing people in with no limbs," said runner Tim Davey of Richmond, Va. He said he and his wife, Lisa, tried to keep their children's eyes shielded from the gruesome scene inside a medical tent that had been set up to care for fatigued runners, but "they saw a lot."
"They just kept filling up with more and more casualties," Lisa Davey said. "Most everybody was conscious. They were very dazed."
The first explosion occurred on the north side of Boylston Street, just before the finish line.
When the second bomb went off, the spectators' cheers turned to screams. As sirens blared, emergency workers and National Guardsmen who had been assigned to the race for crowd control began climbing over and tearing down temporary fences to get to the blast site.
The bombings occurred about four hours into the race and two hours after the men's winner crossed the line. By that point, more than 17,000 of the runners had finished the race but thousands more were still running.
The attack may have been timed for maximum carnage: The four-hour mark is typically a crowded time near the finish line because of the slow-but-steady recreational runners completing the race and because of all the relatives and friends clustered around to cheer them on.
Smoke rose from the blasts, fluttering through the national flags lining the route of the world's oldest and most prestigious marathon. TV helicopter footage showed blood staining the pavement in the popular shopping and tourist area known as the Back Bay.
"There are people who are really, really bloody," said Laura McLean, a runner from Toronto, who was in the medical tent being treated for dehydration when she was pulled out to make room for victims of the explosions. "They were pulling them into the medical tent."
Cherie Falgoust was waiting for her husband, who was running the race.
"I was expecting my husband any minute," she said. "I don't know what this building is ... it just blew. Just a big bomb, a loud boom, and then glass everywhere. Something hit my head. I don't know what it was. I just ducked."
Runners who had not finished the race were diverted straight down Commonwealth Avenue and into a family meeting area, according to an emergency plan that had been in place. About 4,000 runners did not get to finish the race due to the blasts.
A third explosion occurred at the JFK Library in Dorchester around 4:00, which was initially feared to be connected to the Marathon incidents, but police now say that it was unrelated. Governor Deval Patrick said during a news conference on Tuesday morning that the only two explosive devices found in the city were the two that detonated near the finish line.
22News reporter Christine Lee, who was near the finish line at the time of the explosion, reported that several people were treated medical tent near the finish line, while others were rushed to Boston-area hospitals by ambulance.
"It is chaos," Lee said, saying that following the blast, there were people mulling around in the area of the square, desperately searching for loved ones.
If you are trying to check-up on loved ones, you can visit redcross.org/ safeandwell , which allows people
to check-in that they are safe. Another option is the Google Person Finder . You can also call the Boston Mayor's Office Hotline at (617) 635-4500.
Governor Deval Patrick 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."
The National Guard has been called-in to assist police, and National Guard troops are stationed at Boston Common, which is near Copley Square. A 15-block area around the blast site has been cordoned-off as a crime scene, though that is expected to be reduced to a smaller area as the day goes on.
The Federal Aviation Administration is warning pilots that it has created a no-fly zone over the explosion site. Logan International Airport was closed for hours following the blasts, but the airport was re-opened around 6:00 Monday night.
The 22News team will have live reports from Boston throughout the day Tuesday. Reporters Juli McDonald, Laura Hutchinson, Ryan Walsh, and Christine Lee are there, and will have updates all day on-air and on WWLP.com