Terrorism strikes Boston Marathon as bombs kill 3, and at least 77 injured in suspected twin ‘bombings’ near finish line
(CNN) — Two bombs struck near the finish line of the Boston Marathon on Monday, turning a celebration into a bloody scene of destruction.
The blasts threw people to the ground, killing two and injuring dozens.
The Boston Globe reported that more than 100 people were being treated at area hospitals, including several children.
“Any responsible individuals, any responsible groups, will feel the full weight of justice,” President Barack Obama vowed.
‘Like a huge cannon’
The terrorist attack, near the marathon’s finish line, triggered widespread screaming and chaos, shattered windows and barricades and sent smoke billowing into the air at Copley Square.
They were about 50 to 100 yards apart, officials said.
“It felt like a huge cannon,” a witness told CNN about one of theblasts.
The bombs shook buildings, sending people to seek shelter under tables, witnesses said.
Federal authorities are classifying the bombings as a terrorist attack, but it’s not clear whether the origin was domestic or foreign, a federal law enforcement official with knowledge of the investigation said.
Another explosive device found
Authorities in Boston found at least one other explosive device that they were dismantling, Boston Police Commissioner Ed Davis said.
Davis said a third blast at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library was believed to be related to the marathon bombings, but police later said that incident was believed to be fire-related. The library said all staff and visitors are safe.
It was unclear who may have planted the marathon bombs. There were no credible threats before the race, a state government official said.
As authorities searched the scene, numerous suspicious packages were found, possibly because people fled the area, leaving items behind. Investigators were checking them.
The Marriott hotel at Copley Place was evacuated as a precaution.
The Lenox Hotel was also evacuated as a precaution, the Boston Globe reported.
Numerous hospitals treat the wounded
Massachusetts General Hospital said it was treating 22 injured people, six of them in critical condition. Tufts Medical Center reported that it was treating nine people. Brigham and Women’s Hospital said it received between 18 and 20 injured. Boston Medical Center reported 20 patients from the marathon, most with lower leg injuries.
Boston Children’s Hospital was treating seven injured people — six children and a parent of one of the children. Their conditions range from “good to serious,” a hospital spokeswoman said.
Carney Hospital in Dorchester, Massachusetts, reported receiving four or five patients, none in serious condition.
Combined, that brings the number of injured to as many as 82. There are other hospitals in the Boston area as well.
The full number of casualties was not immediately known, Davis said.
Crowds were in the area watching the runners.
“This is a horrific day in Boston,” Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick said in a statement.
The Federal Aviation Administration placed a flight restriction over the site of the blasts.
Other cities, including New York and Washington, tightened security as a result. Following standard protocol, the White House cleared out an area in front of the West Wing.
On Charles Street, between Boylston and Beacon streets, there was a huge police presence, and SWAT team members toted rifles.
“If you see something, say something,” Mark Boughton, mayor of Danbury, Connecticut, wrote on Twitter. “All cities will be on a heightened state of alertness per Homeland Security protocols.”
The explosions occurred at about 2:45 p.m., more than two hours after the first of the race’s nearly 27,000 runners had crossed the finish line, CNN Producer Matt Frucci reported.
The race was halted as was subway service into the area.
Runners east of Massachusetts Avenue were directed to Boston Common; those west of Massachusetts Avenue were directed to Kenmore Square, the state’s emergency management agency said.
Troops from the Massachusetts National Guard were assisting police as well.
One doctor in a medical tent about 150 yards from the explosion said he was immediately mobilized.
“We all went running over there and started to bring people into the medical tent,” he said. “It was not good. Very bad. Like a war zone. 9/11 immediately came to mind.”
Runner Carly Lissak, of Arlington, Texas, who turned 20 Monday, had crossed the finish line about five minutes before the explosions.
She was in the medical tent when she heard the explosions. “It sounded like thunder and the ground shook a little,” Lissak said.
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