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DEVELOPING NEWS: Explosions Rock Boston Marathon

Updated: Monday, April 15 2013, 09:38 PM EDT

BOSTON (AP) — Two bombs exploded in the crowded streets near the
finish line of the Boston Marathon on Monday, killing three people and
injuring more than 130 in a bloody scene of shattered glass and severed
limbs that raised alarms that terrorists might have struck again in the
U.S.


A White House official speaking on condition of anonymity because the
investigation was still unfolding said the attack was being treated as
an act of terrorism.


President Barack Obama vowed that those responsible will "feel the full weight of justice."


A senior U.S. intelligence official said two other bombs were found
near the end of the 26.2-mile course in what appeared to be a
well-coordinated attack.


The fiery twin blasts took place about 10 seconds and about 100 yards
apart, knocking spectators and at least one runner off their feet,
shattering windows and sending dense plumes of smoke rising over the
street and through the fluttering national flags lining the course.
Blood stained the pavement, and huge shards were missing from window
panes as high as three stories.


"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."


Authorities shed no light on a motive or who may have carried out the
bombings, and police said they had no suspects in custody. Authorities
in Washington said there was no immediate claim of responsibility. The
FBI took charge of the investigation.


Police said three people were killed. Hospitals reported at least 134
injured, at least 15 of them critically. The victims' injuries included
broken bones, shrapnel wounds and ruptured eardrums.


At Massachusetts General Hospital, said Alisdair Conn, chief of
emergency services, said: "This is something I've never seen in my 25
years here ... this amount of carnage in the civilian population. This
is what we expect from war."


Some 23,000 runners took part in the race, one of the world's oldest and most prestigious marathons.


One of Boston's biggest annual events, the race winds up near Copley
Square, not far from the landmark Prudential Center and the Boston
Public Library. It is held on Patriots Day, which commemorates the first
battles of the American Revolution, at Concord and Lexington in 1775.


Boston Police Commissioner Edward Davis asked people to stay indoors
or go back to their hotel rooms and avoid crowds as bomb squads
methodically checked parcels and bags left along the race route. He said
investigators didn't know whether the bombs were hidden in mailboxes or
trash cans.


He said authorities had received "no specific intelligence that anything was going to happen" at the race.


The Federal Aviation Administration barred low-flying aircraft within 3.5 miles of the site.


"We still don't know who did this or why," Obama said at the White
House, adding, "Make no mistake: We will get to the bottom of this."


With scant official information to guide them, members of Congress said there was little or no doubt it was an act of terrorism.


"We just don't know whether it's foreign or domestic," said Rep.
Michael McCaul, R-Texas, chairman of the House Committee on Homeland
Security.


A few miles away from the finish line and around the same time, a
fire broke out at the John F. Kennedy Library. The police commissioner
said it may have been caused by an incendiary device but didn't appear
to be related to the bombings.


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.


The senior U.S. intelligence official said the two other explosive
devices found nearby were being dismantled. The official spoke on
condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss the
findings publicly.


Runners in the medical tent for treatment of dehydration or other
race-related ills were pushed out to make room for victims of the
bombing.


A woman who was a few feet from the second bomb, Brighid Wall, 35, of
Duxbury, said that when it exploded, runners and spectators froze,
unsure of what to do. Her husband threw their children to the ground,
lay on top of them and another man lay on top of them and said, "Don't
get up, don't get up."


After a minute or so without another explosion, Wall said, she and
her family headed to a Starbucks and out the back door through an alley.
Around them, the windows of the bars and restaurants were blown out.


She said she saw six to eight people bleeding profusely, including
one man who was kneeling, dazed, with blood trickling down his head.
Another person was on the ground covered in blood and not moving.


"My ears are zinging. Their ears are zinging," Wall said. "It was so forceful. It knocked us to the ground."


Competitors and race volunteers were crying as they fled the chaos.
Authorities went onto the course to carry away the injured, while race
stragglers were rerouted away from the smoking site.


Roupen Bastajian, a state trooper from Smithfield, R.I., had just finished the race when he heard the blasts.


"I started running toward the blast. And there were people all over
the floor," he said. "We started grabbing tourniquets and started tying
legs. A lot of people amputated. ... At least 25 to 30 people have at
least one leg missing, or an ankle missing, or two legs missing."


The Boston Marathon honored the victims of the Newtown, Conn., shooting with a special mile marker in Monday's race.


Boston Athletic Association president Joanne Flaminio previously said
there was "special significance" to the fact that the race is 26.2
miles long and 26 people died at Sandy Hook Elementary school.


Web Producer: Brooke Stromp

___


Associated Press writers Jay Lindsay, Steve LeBlanc, Bridget Murphy
and Meghan Barr in Boston; Julie Pace, Lara Jakes and Eileen Sullivan in
Washington; and Marilynn Marchione in Milwaukee contributed to this
report.

DEVELOPING NEWS: Explosions Rock Boston Marathon


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