This morning President Obama announced that the Boston Marathon bombings were being investigated as an act of terrorism. The FBI and law enforcement officials are combing through what Boston Police Commissioner Ed Davis has called "the most complex crime scene that we've dealt with in the history of our department." Now chilling details about how those deadly bombs were made are being revealed.
A source who has been briefed on the case says that at least one of the bombs appears to have been placed inside a pressure cooker hidden inside a black, nylon backpack or duffel bag and set on the ground. It was filled with ball bearings and nails. Another law enforcement official says it is "likely but not certain" that a timer was attached to the bomb, rather than being set off by a cellphone.
Sources say the bombs were not made from high-grade explosive materials. They say it's most likely that the bombs were small and crude. According to an official, the smoke from the explosions was consistent with "low-velocity improvised explosive mixture, perhaps flash powder or sugar chlorate mixture." Hospital doctors report finding sharp metal objects in patients' wounds, including nails and ball bearings.
FBI special agent Richard DesLauriers says, "We will go to the ends of the Earth to identify the subject or subjects who are responsible for this despicable crime -- and we will do everything we can to bring them to justice." But I'm wondering if they'll really have to go to the ends of the earth, or if the answers are a lot closer to home.
Given the homemade quality of the bombs, it's tempting to speculate that this was a case of domestic terrorism. But it's too early to tell, and I'm sure investigators are keeping an open mind to all kinds of possibilities at this point. They're investigating a photo of a man spotted walking on building's roof overlooking the race. But even more innocuous-seeming photos and videos of the incident can give important clues to investigators who know what to look for (call 800-494-8477 if you have any photos, videos, or information). But one thing is clear -- those bombs were created to cause as much pain and damage to human bodies as possible.
Are you surprised to hear how the bombs were constructed?
Image via hahatango/Flickr