The celebratory mood of the Boston Marathon was shattered as two explosions went off near the finish line. Boston police confirm 2 dead and 23 hurt, according to CNN. Each minute this heartbreaking story continues to unfold, but it is believed that the blasts occurred inside the Fairmont Copley Plaza Hotel, which immediately went on lockdown, reported the Associated Press.
As runners crossed the finish line on Boylston Street at about 2:50 p.m., two loud booms went off, which onlookers say sounded like thunder. Cheri Falgoust, who was waiting for her husband to cross the finish line, told the Wall Street Journal:
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.
While police have not released information as to what or who they believe is responsible for the explosions, ABC News is reporting that authorities are asking people on the street to stay away from trash cans. In addition, buildings in the area are implementing emergency protocols, including the JFK Library, which has been reportedly evacuated. As witnesses post photos to Twitter, it is clear the city has been thrown into a panic, as people undoubtedly fear the worst. It's especially unsettling given that the start of the marathon began with a moment of silence for the victims of the Newtown, Connecticut school shooting.
Thousands were gathered in the spot of the explosion to cheer on runners and, as video footage of the moment shows, volunteers and police scrambled to help the injured. It was a confusing and chaotic scene as spectators and participants fled in tears. "There were a lot of people down," a man also told WSJ. Added marathon runner Laura McLean, "There are people who are really, really bloody. They were pulling them into the medical tent." Many of the victims were eventually taken to Massachusetts General Hospital.
Stay tuned for updates as more details are released.
Update 5:00pm ET
The explosions are now officially being called bombings by multiple news sources and at least one undetonated device is said to have been found. Injury and death counts are climbing, in some cases to as high as 12 deaths and 50 injuries. A third incident at JFK library was also just confirmed by Boston Police Department during a press conference. There is at least one report of a suspect being held in custody.
Update 5:30pm ET
According to the NY Post, police are identifying one suspect as a 20-year-old, male Saudi Arabian national. He is being guarded at a Boston hospital. No word on his connection to the bombings or if he's been injured.
Update 6:00pm ET
The Boston Globe is now reporting at least 90 injuries from today's bombings.
Update 6:30pm ET
CNN has reported the unbearable news that an 8-year-old boy is among the 2 confirmed dead. The Boston Globe is now reporting at least 107 injuries. CNN reports at least 8 of those injured are children.
President Obama gave a brief statement moments ago at the White House. "We still do not know who did this or why ... but make no mistake: We will get to the bottom of (this). We will find out who did this. We will find out why they did this. ... Any responsible groups will feel the full weight of justice." The President did not use the word "terrorism" or "terrorist attack."
Update 11:00pm ET
Boston Police Commissioner Ed Davis confirmed another death tonight, raising the confirmed death toll to 3. CNN is now reporting at least 140 injuries, some of which included, witnesses say, the loss of limbs and critical shrapnel injuries. There are no confirmed persons of interest and the previously reported "suspect" remains unconfirmed by officials. The Boston Globe most recently reports that the JFK Library incident was likely unrelated to the Marathon bombings.
Note: This last update includes the most current information available to us at this time.
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