Boston Marathon: What We Know Now

Apr 16, 2013 -- 7:19am

Yesterday at 2:50 in the afternoon, Eastern Time, two bombs exploded near the finish line of the Boston Marathon.  Here's what you need to know . . .

The Dead:  Three people were killed.  The names and ages of all three weren't released . . . but we know one of them was eight-year-old Martin Richard, from a suburb of Boston called Dorchester.  He was there to see his father Bill finish the race, and his mother and sister were severely injured too.

The Injured:  144 people were injured.  17 of them are in critical condition . . . 25 of them are in serious condition . . . Eight of the injured are children . . . and one is as young as three.

Types of Injuries:  At least 10 people lost limbs, and doctors at multiple hospitals had to perform amputations.  The most common injuries were leg injuries . . . to muscle, tissue, skin, and broken bones . . . and a lot of people were hit by shrapnel that was either contained in the bombs, or sent flying by the explosions.

The Bombs: The first explosion took place at 2:50 P.M., and the second explosion took place 12 seconds later, about 100 yards away, on the same side of the street. 

The bombs have been described as small and crude, but effective.  Officials supposedly know HOW they were detonated, but they aren't releasing that information yet.  Here's what they ARE saying . . .

There were no initial signs of high-grade explosive material, like plastic explosives.  That kind of material has a blast rate of 20,000 square feet per second.

Here we're talking about something with a more crude construction, using black powder, with a blast rate of 7,000 square feet per second.  To put that in perspective, a bullet from a 9-millimeter handgun travels at about 1,000 feet per second.

So these devices had the ability to injure people 100 yards away, and if they contained ball bearings or other shrapnel, you're looking at serious, grisly injuries.  And the bombs were located close to the ground, which is why there were so many leg injuries. 

The Attack:  Because of the timing and the placement, the attack was obviously COORDINATED.  Here's why . . .

The first blast happened right before the four-hours-and-ten-minutes mark of the marathon.  Fours hours, nine minutes, and 45 seconds to be exact.  That's significant because it's THE busiest finishing time of the marathon.

All the elite runners have already crossed, along with most of the disabled who do the marathon in wheelchairs.  So it's right when the HIGHEST number of people running for CHARITIES and CAUSES plow through.  Another tragic aspect of the bombing.

70% of the people running the marathon are doing it for a cause, and the finish line is like the Times Square of marathon watching.  So whoever timed and placed the bombs knew what they were doing. 

Supposedly police found a third device, but there were ongoing questions about whether it was found and defused, or even related.  Other initial reports suggested that there were as many as FIVE devices around Boston, one in a nearby hotel.

If that were the case, those unexploded devices would be HUGE for the investigation.

Who Did It?  There are no suspects . . . there's no one in custody . . . and there have been no claims of responsibility.  But . .

There's a huge multi-agency investigation going on, involving all levels of government, including the FBI and the ATF.  The National Guard has sealed off the area, and authorities are pouring over surveillance, media, and cell phone footage.

Police ARE looking for a dark-skinned or black male, wearing a black backpack and black sweatshirt, who tried to get into a restricted area not long before the first blast.

Last night, Massachusetts State Police spent hours checking a lead at an apartment in Revere, Massachusetts, five miles from downtown Boston.  They referred questions to the FBI, so it seems connected to the ongoing investigation.

The appearance that the attack was going for MASS CASUALTIES suggests a foreign terrorist group.  But again, the bombs themselves were pretty crude, and no one has claimed responsibility.

A DOMESTIC terror attack would be more likely to go after the Federal government or a military installation.  So basically it's all speculation at this point.

The Marathon:  The Boston Marathon started in 1897, and is the world's oldest annual marathon.  All in all, 23,326 people started the race, and the bombs exploded about an hour after the winners finished.

So:  17,584 crossed the finish line . . . 4,496 were held back at a certain point near the bomb zone . . . and 1,246 didn't make it up to the holding point.

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