Feds Seek Suspects, Motive in Boston Bombings

People react to an explosion at the 2013 Boston Marathon in Boston, Monday, April 15, 2013.
Associated Press + More

By JIMMY GOLEN, Associated Press

BOSTON (AP) — The bombs that blew up seconds apart at the finish line of one of the world's most storied races left the streets spattered with blood and glass, three dead, including an 8-year-old boy, more than 140 wounded and gaping questions of who chose to attack at the Boston Marathon and why.

Federal investigators said no one had claimed responsibility for the bombings on one of the city's most famous civic holidays, Patriots Day. But the blasts among the throngs of spectators raised fears of a terrorist attack.

[PHOTOS: Deadly Explosions at Boston Marathon]

President Barack Obama was careful not to use the words "terror" or "terrorism" as he spoke at the White House Monday after the deadly bombings, but an administration official said the bombings were being treated as an act of terrorism.

"We will find out who did this. We'll find out why they did this," the president said. "Any responsible individuals, any responsible groups, will feel the full weight of justice."

The FBI took charge of the investigation into the bombings, serving a warrant late Monday on a home in suburban Boston and appealing for any video, audio and still images taken by marathon spectators.

A European security official said Tuesday initial evidence indicates that the attacks were not the work of suicide bombers.

[READ: Bomb Experts Analyze Blast]

"So far, investigators believe it was not the work of suicide bombers, but it is still too early to rule it out completely," said the official, who spoke from the United States on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak about the U.S. investigation.

 

The Pakistani Taliban, which has threatened attacks in the United States because of its support for the Pakistani government, on Tuesday denied any role in the marathon bombings.

The fiery explosions took place about 10 seconds and about 100 yards apart, knocking spectators and at least one runner off their feet, shattering windows and sending dense plumes of smoke rising over the street and through the fluttering national flags lining the route.

Blood stained the pavement, and huge shards were missing from window panes as high as three stories. Victims suffered broken bones, shrapnel wounds and ruptured eardrums.

[READ: Social Media Reacts to First Reports of Boston Explosions]

Roupen Bastajian, a state trooper from Smithfield, R.I., had just finished the race when he heard the explosions.

"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."

At Massachusetts General Hospital, Alasdair Conn, chief of emergency services, said: "This is something I've never seen in my 25 years here ... this amount of carnage in the civilian population. This is what we expect from war."

Dr. Stephen Epstein of the Department of Emergency Medicine at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center says he saw an X-ray of one victim's leg that had "what appears to be small, uniform round objects throughout it — similar in the appearance to BBs." He said it remained to be determined what exactly the objects were.

[READ: U.S. News Live Coverage of Boston Marathon Explosions]

As many as two unexploded bombs were found near the end of the 26.2-mile course as part of what appeared to be a well-coordinated attack, but they were safely disarmed, according to a senior U.S. intelligence official, who also spoke on condition of anonymity because of the continuing investigation.

 

Massachusetts State Police said a search was conducted in the suburb of Revere on Monday night was related to the investigation, but provided no further details. Some investigators were seen leaving a building there early Tuesday carrying brown paper bags, plastic trash bags and a duffel bag.

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.