Searching for answers

 | Monday, 15 April 2013 21:06

Boston Marathon attack investigation continues

The investigation continues into the two explosions that killed three people and injured at least 170 at the finish line of the 117th Boston Marathon on Monday afternoon. The most recent reports confirm that one of the suspects, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, 26, was killed early Friday morning in an exchange of gunfire with police after the two suspects attempted to rob a 7/11 and hi-jacked a car. The second suspect, 19-year-old Dzhokhar A. Tsarnaev, is still at large. The entire city of Boston has been closed, and the towns of Waltham, Brighton, Allston, Cambridge and Watertown are on lock-down. All public transportation has been shut down for the day. 

The blasts shook the finish line on Boylston Street Monday afternoon just before 3 p.m., a time when most of the runners were making their way through the last few miles of the historic race. Marathon officials immediately halted the race, stopping runners on the course and diverting them away from the area.

As of press time, two Duxbury Police officers were assisting federal, state and local law enforcement in Boston in any way necessary. Officer Thomas Johnson, with the motorcycle unit, and Officer Ryan Cavicchi aided efforts at and around the crime scene at the Boston Marathon finish line. The officers were expected to work at least an eight-hour shift and were expected to continue to offer assistance in Boston until they are released or relieved.

On Tuesday morning, law enforcement personnel gave a press conference to update community members as to the status of the investigation. Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick clarified that only two explosive devices were found at the crime scene on Monday.

“All other parcels have been examined but there were no unexploded devices found,” Patrick said.

Duxbury resident Steve Fulmer completed his first Boston Marathon, running as part of the New England Aquarium team, 10 minutes before the first explosion occurred at the finish line. Fulmer proceeded down through the finish line area and met up with his wife, who had been standing in the exact location of the first blast just 20 minutes before, waiting for him to finish the race.

“We were about three blocks away when we heard the first blast. The sound was unnatural; it was not the sound you would expect of fireworks,” Fulmer said.

When Fulmer and his wife saw smoke, they started walking away from the scene of the explosions. As they made their way toward the Aquarium, Fulmer said he saw several officers running toward the scene of the explosions.

“We weren’t sure at first what was going on but we overheard people talking and we all sort of pieced it together,” Fulmer said. “Everyone was looking to each other to get a sense of what was going on.”

Fulmer said he would most likely run in the Marathon again.

“It would be a shame for something like this to negatively change such an historic and meaningful event for the city of Boston,” he said.

Siobhan Sheehan, running her 10th Boston Marathon as a member of Massachusetts Eye and Ear team in memory of her sister, Erin Sheehan Taggart, was not injured during the bombings at the finish line. Sheehan was approaching the finish line and saw both explosions.

“I immediately knew it was a bomb,” she said. “I had a bad omen during the last six miles of the race, as strange as it sounds, and as soon as the bomb went off I stopped in my tracks and thought ‘Oh my God this is a terrorist attack.’”

Sheehan followed the direction of police officers on the scene and called to let her mother know she was not injured. She said her first thought was “Thank God that none of my family came to watch me.” As she spoke with her mother on the phone, she learned that her sister, Brighid Wall, had brought her six- and four-year- old children and Sheehan’s five year old son to the race as a surprise. Wall and the children were sitting at the finish line, getting ready to high-five Sheehan as she finished, when the bomb went off.

“I was so concerned for her safety and the safety of the children,” Sheehan said. “I can’t believe she and the children witnessed the whole thing. They are physically okay but traumatized.”

Sheehan said she was finally reunited with her fam- ily at the Boston Harbor Hotel just before 7 p.m. She said she feels lucky that both she and her family were not physically hurt. On Tuesday morning, Sheehan said her son woke up concerned that a bomb was going to hit Duxbury.

“It was unbelievable,” Sheehan said. “I thank my sister Erin for saving me; she was literally my guardian angel.”

Tom Meagher, coordinator of the finish line at the Boston Marathon, has been working the finish line for seventeen years. Meagher was standing near the announcer’s booth when the first explosion occurred and he immediately ran toward the store front where the blast had knocked down numbers of spectators and runners.

“There were bodies everywhere,” Meagher said. “The carnage was beyond description.”

After calling his wife and letting her know he was okay, Meagher watched the scene unfold, and realized that there was nothing he could do to help victims.

“I can give CPR, but there were so many medical professionals there who were better suited to provide aid than I was,” he said.

On Tuesday afternoon Meagher was still in shock and said his response to concerned friends and family has been “Physically, I’m okay.” Mentally, he said, it’s going to take him a long time to recover.

“The Marathon will never be the same,” Meagher said. “I’m physically fine, but I am going to have to work this out of my head. It was horrific.”

Mayor Menino also spoke at the conference, remarking that in his 20 years as mayor he has not seen law enforcement and neighbors pull together as quickly as they have. He mentioned he has received calls from all over the world asking about the tragedy and how they can help.

“This is a bad day for Boston, but if we pull together we can get through it,” Menino said. “Let’s say Boston will overcome.”

Julie Haskell, 23, a run ner at the Marathon, was in the crowd of racers who were stopped at Boston College af- ter the explosions occurred. The third oldest grandchild of town clerk Nancy Oates, Haskell had trained for months in preparation for the mara thon.

Several notifications and updates were provided on the status of Duxbury residents at the Marathon. According to Twitter posts, additional Duxbury runners not injured in the race include Katie McGuirk, Greg Doyon and Duxbury Firefighter Tim Geary. Staff members at the Island Creek Oyster Bar were up the street from the crime scene, at Ken- more Square, during the explosions.

“We were a few blocks up the street. All were safe in Kenmore. Very scary day for all up here,” said Shore Gregory, Island Creek Oyster Foundation vice president, via Twitter on Monday afternoon.

Duxbury schools superin tendent Dr. Benedict Tantillo tweeted that his daughter fin ished the marathon seven minutes before the bombs went off.

“Chaos trying to find her. All OK but upset,” Tantillo said via Twitter.

Rick Deslauriers, special FBI agent in charge of this investigation, thanked first re- sponders and volunteers who saved lives with their quick thinking and helpful actions. Deslauriers said the FBI will

continue to investigate all ac- tivity and reminded communi- ty members of the importance of public help.

“Assistance from the pub- lic remains critical,” Deslau- riers said. “We commend the public, citizens of Boston and Massachusetts for the infor- mation they have provided to law enforcement.”

President Barack Obama has order all flags on federal buildings to remain at half mast until Saturday, in honor of the victims of the bombings. The President held a press conference on the explosions at the Marathon at 11: 30 a.m. Tuesday morning from the White House. The Presi- dent said law enforcement officials will get to the bottom of the tragedy and will find out who is responsible. He also called the attack an “act of terrorism.”

“All Americans stand with the people of Boston,” Obama said. “We will find out who did this and we will hold them accountable. On days like this there are no Republicans or Democracts – we are all Americans, united in concern for our fellow citizens.”

According to the Associated Press on Monday afternoon, the Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station increased security after the explosions in Boston Monday afternoon.

Boston Police Commis- sioner Ed Davis said the investigation is ongoing. Anyone with information is asked to call 1-800-494-TIPS. To locate family members or looking for information on loved ones, call 617-635-4500.