MARATHON BOMBING ONE YEAR LATER
A bright spring day. The Sox just beat the Tampa Bay Rays at Fenway on an RBI double in the ninth inning. It’s good to have the day off. Crowds mill about on the street for the Boston Mara-thon, a Patriot’s Day tradi-tion. A loud bang. Another. Smoke, yelling, haze, run-ning, copper balls, gore.Chaos.At 2:49 p.m. on April 15, 2013, two bombs trans-formed Boylston Street and a picturesque April day into a nightmare of confusion, fear and uncertainty.On a day meant to celebrate our national heritage and a world-famous race, the attack set in motion a week-long hunt for the per-petrators, culminating in a white-knuckle manhunt and the shutdown of an entire American city.Police and rescuers, along with runners and ordinary people, raced to help the scores injured in the blasts. Meanwhile, horriﬁed resi-dents around the region and the country struggled to ﬁg-ure out what had happened and tried to contact loved ones in the Boston Mara-thon or along the ﬁnish line.Adding to the confusion, a ﬁre broke out about 10 minutes after the blasts at the John F. Kennedy Presi-dential Library, though the blaze turned out to be unre-lated. Early media reports described packages at other locations along the Boston Marathon route. Police deto-nated a device in a controlled explosion on Boylston Street later in the afternoon. At about 10 p.m., local and state police executed a search war-rant on an apartment build-ing in Revere.Local hospitals worked feverishly to save people’s lives as Boston Police and the FBI announced a joint investigation into the bomb-ing and who was behind it.President Barack Obama spoke to the nation about the tragedy just after 6 p.m., a grimly regular duty for him.“We still do not know who did this or why,” he said. “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 indi-viduals, any responsible groups will feel the full weight of justice.”By the end of Patriot’s Day, it was clear that three people had been killed in the blast and nearly 200 others wounded. Many lost legs.Tuesday morning, people ventured back into Boston for work, to retrieve belong-ings, to ﬁnd friends and family and to drop ﬂowers and shoes at the barricade blocking off the ﬁnish line, which police had deemed a crime scene.Bostonians, commuters and visitors were greeted to heavy police and National Guard presence. Guard troops were stationed inside transit stations downtown, and the State Police and the Guard used Boston Common as a staging area, mustering numerous heavy vehicles on the grass along Charles Street.Life slowly resumed its usual pace. Tourists looked for Duck Tours. People waited for the Big Apple Cir-cus at Government Center, which decided to carry on. Residents took their dogs to the Public Garden and the common.But the search for answers continued.The FBI agent then in charge of the Boston ﬁeld ofﬁce,Richard DesLauriers, offered the ﬁrst clues about what had happened the day before. He described two bombs made with pressure cookers and possibly concealed in back-packs or duffel bags. The explosives were packed with small metal objects to maxi-mize injury.“Among items partially recovered are pieces of black nylon, which could be from a backpack, and what appear to be fragments of BBs and nails possibly contained in a pressure cooker device,” he said.The area remained on high alert. On Wednesday, April 17, the Moakley Courthouse in South Boston was evacu-ated after a bomb threat. No explosive was found.A healing service and interfaith vigil was held April 18 at Cathedral of the Holy Cross in the South End of Boston, attended by a cardinal, a rabbi, a president and multiple local religious, civic and political leaders.“This doesn’t stop us. And that’s what you’ve taught us, Boston,” Obama told thousands in the cathedral and watching on televi-sion. “That’s what you’ve reminded us, to push, to not grow weary, to not get faint, even when it hurts. We ﬁn-ish the race. And we do that because of who we are and we do that because we know that somewhere around the bend, a stranger has a cup of water. Around the bend, somebody’s there to boost our spirits. On that tough-est mile, just when we think we’ve hit a wall, someone will be there to cheer us on and pick up.”Later that day, police and the FBI turned to the public for help in ﬁnding and identifying two people suspected of planting the bombs on Boylston Street. They released surveillance footage from the marathon showing two young men, then known only as Suspect 1 and Suspect 2, with base-ball hats and backpacks.That release may have spooked the suspects, two Russian-born Cambridge residents who had stayed put after the bombing. At about 10:30 p.m., Massachu-setts Institute of Technology police reported gunﬁre on Vasser Street. A few min-utes later, MIT Police Ofﬁcer Sean Collier was killed in his cruiser.The elder suspect car- jacked a Mercedes SUV, keeping the driver with him, while the younger suspect went to Watertown. The suspect took the Mercedes’ owner on a harrowing trip through Brighton, Cambridge and Watertown, stopping at ATMs to withdraw money.The SUV’s owner escaped shortly after midnight Friday at a Shell Station on Memorial Drive in Cam-bridge and notiﬁed police. An alert was sent to area police with a description of the vehicle.Watertown police spot-ted the SUV, followed by a Honda sedan, on Dexter Avenue. Shots were ﬁred and police engaged in a gun battle in the residential neighborhood, with the two suspects throwing pressure cooker bombs. A transit police ofﬁcer,Richard Donahue Jr., was critically wounded in the battle.Eventually, the younger suspect, soon identiﬁed as Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, escaped, but ran over his wounded brother, identiﬁed as Tamerlan Tsarnaev.That ﬁreﬁght and escape triggered a massive manhunt, based at the Arsenal in Watertown. Police from around the region, the State Police, the FBI, the National Guard and the federal ATF dressed in fatigues and armor and heavily armed searched homes in the area. Gov. Deval Patrick asked residents to stay in their homes and ordered public transit closed.Millions of people hun-kered down as the search continued through the day. Police and federal agents searched the Tsarnaev’s Cambridge apartment and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev’s UMass Dartmouth dorm.With no suspect by 6 p.m., Patrick called off the search for the day and lifted his request to stay inside. That decision led a Watertown resident,David Henneberry, of 67 Frank-lin St., to go outside for a smoke. He noticed some-thing off about his boat, wrapped for the winter and parked in his back yard. He called police.Ofﬁcers and agents swarmed the area. After a brief bout of gunﬁre, they brought in helicopters with thermal imaging cameras to peer into the boat and a robot to cut through the wrapping. After about two hours, police convinced a bloodied Dzhokhar Tsar-naev to surrender. Cheering crowds swarmed Boston, the relief palpable and overwhelming.Saturday, people left their homes in relief that the suspect was caught and in pride of the stoic determina-tion Boston showed through the week, a mindset dubbed Boston Strong.“This is our f---ing city,” David Ortiz said that day at Fenway Park.Amen.
Follow Douglas Moser on Twitter
EagleEyeMoser. To comment on stories and see what others are saying, log on to eagletribune.com.
The day that changed Boston forever
A ﬂag ﬂies over the ﬁnish line as medical workers aid injured people following the explosion at the 2013 Boston Marathon. Two explosions shattered the euphoria at the ﬁnish line, sending authorities out on the course to carry off the injured while the stragglers were re-routed away from the smoking site of the blasts.
N o r t h o f B o s t o n M e d i a G r o u p • B O S T O N M A R A T H O N : S T I L L S T R O N G • F r i d a y , A p r i l 1 8 , 2 0 1 4