By Matt Olson
On Monday, April 15, two bomb explosions killed three and injured 176 near the finish line of the Boston Marathon. The terrifying scene concluded over a decade in which few terror attacks occurred in the U.S. since the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.
The two explosions occurred within 15 seconds and 600 feet of each other. As of April 16, the perpetrators of the crime remained unknown.
Among the dead were eight-year-old Martin Richard, who was watching the marathon with his family, 29-year-old Krystle Campbell, who had gone to the marathon to take a picture of her friend’s boyfriend crossing the finish line, and 23-year-old Boston University graduate student Lu Lingzi, originally from China, according to the New York Times and Huffpost.
The other victim of the blasts has remained unidentified. Richard’s father, Bill Richard, released a statement shortly after the attack, saying, “We thank our family and friends, those we know and those we have never met, for their thoughts and prayers. I ask that you continue to pray for my family as we remember Martin.”
Campbell’s father told Yahoo news that his daughter was a “lovable girl,” and that he is “just so shocked right now. We’re just devastated.”
Late Monday night, CBS News Senior Correspondent John Miller reported that law enforcement officials were questioning a Saudi National who was near the finish line at the time of the explosions; the individual has since been released. The Taliban, a Pakistani extremist group responsible for the September 11, 2001 attacks, has denied any role in the incident, the Associated Press reports.
President Obama addressed the nation shortly after the attacks. He said, “We reaffirm on days like these that there are no Republicans or Democrats; we are Americans, united and concerned for our fellow citizens.” The FBI has taken command of the investigation, and Obama called the incident a “heinous and cowardly… act of terrorism.”
Representative Bill Keating of Massachusetts called the attack a “sophisticated, coordinated, planned attack,” CNN reported.
Monday was Patriot’s Day in Massachusetts, a holiday to commemorate the Battles of Lexington and Concord, which began the Revolutionary War.
Obama said, “It’s a day that celebrates the free and fiercely independent spirit that this great American city of Boston has reflected from the earliest days of our nation.”
Jessica Barofsky ‘13 attended the Boston Marathon on Monday. Barofsky recalls hearing a “loud sound” when the bombs exploded.
“Eventually we started heading toward the finish line and by around 3:30 p.m., when we arrived to about Kenmore Square, swarms of people were heading in the opposite direction, telling us to turn around and that it was ‘pretty bad,’” she explained. Kenmore Square is one of the busiest intersections in Boston, and is close to the finish line of the Marathon. For Barofsky, the loss of cell service following the explosions was particularly concerning. Like many who were present at the marathon, Barofsky quickly took to social media to write a post alerting friends and family that she was okay.
Abigail Calish ‘13 stated, “Since we don’t have school in Boston because it is Patriot’s Day, I always watch the Marathon in person and the finish line is my favorite place to be. If I were to be at home, that is the exact spot where I would be.”
It is estimated that 500,000 spectators attend the race every year, with an average of 20,000 competitors.
The investigation is currently in its initial phases, with no suspects currently in custody. The FBI and President Obama have stated that the American public will be made aware of developments in the case as they occur.
Barofsky noted that, for many Americans, the day “may never be the same,” but she remained optimistic: “I am sure the resiliency of Boston and its people will allow for it to bounce back better than ever.”