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Bomb blasts leave three dead at Boston Marathon

ESPN staff
April 16, 2013 « Live County Championship coverage | Chartbeat test »
Obama reacts to Boston bombing

Police say at least three people have been killed in the explosions near the finish line of the Boston Marathon. Police commissioner Ed Davis confirmed the three deaths but provided no details. Eight hospitals report that they are treating at least 140 people. Of those, at least 17 are in critical condition. An eight-year-old boy was one of the victims, a law enforcement source told ABC News.

At the White House, President Barack Obama vowed that those responsible will "feel the full weight of justice" and a senior U.S. intelligence official said two other explosive devices were found near the end of the 26.2-mile course. The injuries ranged from cuts and bruises to amputations. Many victims suffered lower leg injuries and shrapnel wounds. Some suffered ruptured eardrums.

Attack will test marathon community

A dazed runner sits after the explosion at the Boston Marathon © Getty Images
  • The Boston Marathon is a collective civic experience, a holiday with more than a century of history. Planting lethal bombs at any point on the course would have been a horrible, criminal act. The symbolism of planting them at the finish line, where so many have lifted their arms in exultation, is unbearable. Click here for the full story

Dr. Richard Wolfe, chief of the department of emergency medicine at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, says one or two of the hospital's 21 patients faced a "high probability of mortality".

"They just started bringing people in with no limbs," said runner Tim Davey, of Richmond, Virginia. "They just kept filling up with more and more casualties. Most everybody was conscious. They were very dazed."

There was no word on the motive or who may have launched the attack. Police said no suspect was in custody, although later on Monday night a person of interest was being questioned, according to multiple reports. Authorities in Washington said there was no immediate claim of responsibility.

A White House official speaking on condition of anonymity because the investigation was still unfolding said the attack was being treated as an act of terrorism.

The twin blasts at the race took place almost simultaneously and about 100 yards apart, tearing limbs off numerous people, knocking spectators and at least one runner off their feet, shattering windows and sending smoke rising over the street.

At Massachusetts General Hospital, Alisdair 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."

Some 23,000 runners took part in the race, one of the world's oldest and most prestigious marathons. One of Boston's biggest annual events, the race winds up near Copley Square, not far from the landmark Prudential Center and the Boston Public Library.

The Federal Aviation Administration barred low-flying aircraft from within 3.5 miles of the site.

"We still don't know who did this or why," Obama said, adding, "Make no mistake: We will get to the bottom of this."

Confusion after the blasts © Getty Images
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A senior U.S. intelligence official said the two other explosive devices found nearby were being dismantled. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss the findings publicly.

Another explosion was heard about an hour after the first two after authorities warned spectators to expect a loud noise from a water cannon as police performed a "controlled explosion," Davis said.

Vice President Joe Biden was on a conference call with gun control activists when staffers turned on televisions in his office Monday to view coverage of the explosions. Biden said during the call that his prayers were with those who suffered injuries.

Police in New York City and London are stepping up security following the explosions in Boston. Chief NYPD spokesman Paul Browne said critical response teams have been deployed around the city. British police also say they are reviewing security plans for Sunday's London Marathon. It's the next major international marathon.

Information from ESPN's Bonnie D. Ford, ESPNBoston.com's Jack McCluskey, ESPN The Magazine's Kevin Van Valkenburg and The Associated Press was used in this report

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