President Barack Obama confirmed Tuesday authorities are still in the dark about who perpetrated what he called "an act of terrorism" at the Boston Marathon Monday, when two bombs exploded causing more than 175 injuries and killing 3 people, including an 8-year-old boy.
"We know it was bombs that were set off, we know obviously they did some severe damage; we do not who did them," he said at a White House news conference. "We do not know whether this was an act of an organization or an individual or individuals, we don't have a sense of motive yet so everything else at this point is speculation."
During a Monday night briefing, the president had avoided characterizing the attack as terrorism, but did not shy away from the word Tuesday.
"This was a heinous and cowardly act and given what we now know what took place, the FBI is investigating it as an act of terrorism," Obama said. "Anytime bombs are used to target innocent civilians, it is an act of terror."
Obama said authorities would continue to brief the public as more details become available. He also used the opportunity to offer support for the people in Boston and praise the city's reaction to the tragic events.
"The American people refuse to be terrorized because what the world saw yesterday in the aftermath of the explosions were stories of heroism and kindness and generosity and love," he said, citing marathon runners who continued past the finish line to donate blood, those who used their own clothes to make tourniquets for the wounded, first responders who "ran into the chaos," priests who opened their churches and Bostonians who opened their homes to victims and witnesses.
"So if you want to know who we are, what America is, how we respond to evil – that's it," Obama said. "Selflessly, compassionately, unafraid."