marathon bombing
12:11 pm
Mon April 15, 2013

Police: Boy, 8, among 3 killed in Boston Marathon blasts

Two bombs exploded in the packed streets near the finish line of the Boston Marathon on Monday, killing three people—including an 8-year-old boy—and injuring more than 140 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.  

A senior U.S. intelligence official said two other bombs were found near the end of the 26.2-mile course.

President Barack Obama said the U.S. does not yet know "who did this or why" but vowed that whoever is responsible "will feel the full weight of justice." 

"We will find out who did this and we will hold them accountable," he said. 

WBZ-TV reported late Monday that law enforcement officers were searching an apartment in the Boston suburb of Revere. Massachusetts State Police confirmed that a search warrant related to the investigation into the explosions was served Monday night in Revere but provided no further details.

Police said three people were killed. An 8-year-old boy was among the dead, according to a person who talked to a friend of the family and spoke on condition of anonymity. The person said the boy's mother and sister were also injured as they waited for his father to finish the race.

’It didn’t look like something accidental’

Amy Roe, a Seattle resident who participated in the race, said she had finished the race and was several blocks away when she saw the explosion.

“I heard a big boom coming from that direction. We all turned and looked, then we heard another boom and a huge cloud of smoke,” she said. “At that point, you know, no one knew what was going on, but race volunteers started telling us to disperse and get away down the other side of the street. So that’s what I did.”  

Roe said the runners had little information, but they sensed something terrible had happened.

“It looked like something nefarious; it didn’t look like something accidental,” she said.

In this photo provided by The Daily Free Press and Kenshin Okubo, people react to an explosion at the 2013 Boston Marathon in Boston, Monday, April 15, 2013.
Credit Kenshin Okubo / The Daily Free Press

Things turned chaotic before the scope of the incident registered for many, said Roe.

“We had just run a marathon, so we were just…I don’t think people, immediately, were panicking. But they were definitely in shock,” she said. “There was a little bit of a pause, and then you started to hear all the sirens. And we were just very worried, and … it got kind of chaotic.”

Roe herself panicked when she realized she didn’t know where her husband was.

“I was planning to meet my husband near the finish line and fortunately, he was not in the area. But there was a moment when I thought, you know … I looked down the street and looked at where we were supposed to meet, and until I heard his voice, I was just terrified,” she said.

“(It was) the last thing I expected to happen,” said Roe. “Just really sad and shocked.”

'It was only 5 feet away from me'

A 78-year-old Lake Stevens man running his third Boston Marathon was near the finish line when he was knocked down by one of two bomb blasts and caught in a news photograph that quickly went viral.

Bill Iffrig told The Herald of Everett that he heard a noise Monday and found himself on the ground.

Bill Iffrig, 78, lies on the ground as police officers react to a second explosion at the finish line of the Boston Marathon in Boston, Monday, April 15, 2013. Iffrig, of Lake Stevens, Wash., was running his third Boston Marathon and near the finish line when he was knocked down by one of two bomb blasts.
Credit John Tlumacki / The Boston Globe

"It was only 5 feet away from me," he said. "It was really loud."

He said he ended up with a scrape on his knee, and that a race official helped him to his feet.

Iffrig said most of the other runners near the area weren't as close to the explosion as he was. He walked across the finish line and another half-mile to his hotel. Iffrig said of his proximity to the explosion that it was a "close one" and the experience "scared" him.

The runner's son, Mark Iffrig, of Seattle, told The Associated Press he was tracking his father's race progress online and didn't realize what had happened until he went on Facebook to post about his dad finishing the race. He quickly turned on the TV and called his dad.

"It's horrible. He said it was quite a concussive blast. He was a little dazed. Someone helped him up," said Mark Iffrig , adding he recognized his father from a widely distributed Boston Globe photo showing him on the ground, surrounded by police officers and race officials. "He was only about 10 feet from the finish line."

Iffrig said his father is an avid runner who has raced in a number of marathons.

"He's a hell of a runner," he said. "He's run a lot and he's fast."

One of the blast sites on Boylston Street near the finish line of the 2013 Boston Marathon is investigated by two people in protective suits in the wake of two blasts in Boston Monday, April 15, 2013.
Credit Elise Amendola / Associated Press

Some 27,000 runners took part in the 26.2-mile race, one of the world's premier marathons and one of Boston's biggest annual events. 

A total of 527 runners from Washington state signed up for the race, according to its website.  

Seattle police on Monday said they would increase patrol around the city as a precaution.

“We haven’t received any information to indicate that there is a threat to Seattle,” said Sgt. Sean Whitcomb. “Still, we have begun taking reasonable precautions to protect our community.”

'There are people who are really, really bloody’

As people wailed in agony, bloody spectators were carried to a medical tent that had been set up to care for fatigued runners.

In this photo provided by The Daily Free Press and Kenshin Okubo, people assist an injured after an explosion at the 2013 Boston Marathon in Boston, Monday, April 15, 2013.
Credit Kenshin Okubo / The Daily Free Press

"They just started bringing people in in with no limbs," said Tim Davey, of Richmond, Va. He said he and his wife, Lisa, tried to keep their children's eyes shielded from the gruesome scene.

"They just kept filling up with more and more casualties," Lisa Davey said. "Most everybody was conscious. They were very dazed."

One runner, a Rhode Island state trooper, said the blasts tore limbs off dozens of people. As smoke rose over the glass-strewn street, bloody spectators were carried to the medical tent that had been set up to care for fatigued runners.

"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."

’I started running toward the blast’

Medical workers wheel the injured across the finish line during the 2013 Boston Marathon following an explosion in Boston, Monday, April 15, 2013.
Credit Charles Krupa / Associated Press

Roupen Bastajian, a 35-year-old state trooper from Smithfield, R.I., had just finished the race when they put the heat blanket wrap on him and he heard the first blast.

"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."

A Boston police officer was wheeled from the course with a leg injury that was bleeding.

"There are a lot of people down," said one man, whose bib No. 17528 identified him as Frank Deruyter of North Carolina. He was not injured, but marathon workers were carrying one woman, who did not appear to be a runner, to the medical area as blood gushed from her leg.

This photo provided by Bruce Mendelsohn shows the scene after two explosions occurred during the 2013 Boston Marathon in Boston, Monday, April 15, 2013.
Credit Bruce Mendelsohn / Associated Press

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.

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.

Google has launched Person Finder to help runners and their loved ones reunite in the wake of the tragedy. The Red Cross is offering a similar service on its Safe and Well Listings website