Wednesday, April 17, 2013
Investigators in Boston 'zeroing in on some people'
As investigators continue to piece together the events of the Boston Marathon bombing, combing every inch of the finish line, they are also following up on tips from over 2000 eye witnesses. NBC's Lester Holt reports.
By Richard Esposito, Pete Williams and Erin McClam, NBC News
Authorities investigating the Boston Marathon bombing said Wednesday they have developed “solid leads” and identified “a number of people” they want to talk to after viewing hundreds of hours of video, with one or two standing out.
Senior officials told NBC News that they were not prepared to characterize those individuals as suspects.
“We are zeroing in on some people,” an official said.
Investigators analyzing photos and video have found people carrying black backpacks and duffel bags and setting them down in the area where the bombs went off, officials said.
The investigators said they were focused on video taken in the area closest to the blasts, which killed three people and injured 176 near the finish line Monday. Senior officials in Boston also said the team of investigators on the ground is making “solid progress” and that forensics work on bomb parts continues.
Earlier in the day, doctors said they have pulled fragments as large as 2 inches, including pieces of wood, concrete and plastic, from the bodies of people wounded in the attack.
The injuries have been so severe that surgeons have operated a second time on some patients, even after amputations, to fight possible infection, said Dr. Peter Burke, the chief of trauma services at Boston Medical Center.
Investigators have said the two bombs were housed in metal containers — at least one a kitchen pressure cooker — and studded with metal, including fine nails or brads, to make the devices more lethal. Burke said that doctors are making the fragments available to police.
A 5-year-old boy was among the patients still in critical condition at the hospital, Burke said. In all, 69 patients were still at Boston hospitals, including 19 critically injured.
FBI bomb technicians returned to the scene of the explosions Wednesday with police dogs.
On Tuesday, investigators said their hunt for suspects and a motive in the marathon attack was “wide open” and disclosed the first details about the two bombs — saying that they were concealed in bags.
The lead investigator for the FBI, Richard DesLauriers, made an passionate plea for help from the public: “Someone knows who did this.”
The devices appear to have been delivered to the marathon course in duffel bags.
NBC's Pete Williams discusses two images taken before and after the Boston bombing that are generating a lot of interest. The first shows a bag next to a mailbox along a barricade on the marathon route. The second appears to show no sign of the bag.
In Boston, people filled a park late Tuesday where an 8-year-old boy killed in the blasts once played. They held candles, joined in prayer and sang “God Bless America.”
The boy, Martin Richard, was waiting at the finish line. A second death was identified as Krystle Campbell, 29, of Medford, Mass. The third was confirmed Wednesday as Lingzi Lu, a graduate student at Boston University.
DesLauriers told reporters that the “range of suspects and motives remains wide open,” and Attorney General Eric Holder told the public that no detail that might help investigators was too small to report.
“Importantly, the person who did this is someone’s friend, neighbor, co-worker or relative. We are asking anyone who may have heard someone speak about the marathon, or the date of April 15, in any way that indicated that he or she may have targeted this event to call us,” DesLauriers said.
Among photos from the scene under review are two given to NBC affiliate WHDH of Boston by a witness. The first picture shows a bag next to a mailbox along a barricade on the marathon route. The second — which the station said it had blurred because of its graphic nature — appears to show no sign of the bag.
There was no way to know whether the bag in those photos is relevant to the investigation, but the station provided them to the FBI for review, it said Tuesday. The person who took the pictures told WHDH that as long as an hour may have passed between the times the two photos were taken.
FBI / AP
The remains of a pressure cooker that the FBI says was part of one of the bombs that exploded during the Boston Marathon.
Sources involved in the investigation said that the pressure-cooker device was effectively a “homemade claymore,” a directional explosive that appeared to include a triggering mechanism using a battery pack and a circuit board. Both of those elements were recovered at the scene.
A picture from investigators from after the attack showed the mangled metal of a pressure cooker. The other device was housed in a metal container, but so far there is not enough evidence to determine if it was also a pressure cooker, an FBI-Homeland Security bulletin said. Another photo showed the shredded remains of a black bag apparently used to house one of the bombs.
FBI / AP
A black bag the FBI says contained one of the bombs that exploded during the Boston Marathon.
“They functioned as designed,” said one official with strong knowledge of explosives.
The official also said: “It appeared to be built from scratch but with a sophisticated triggering mechanism. And frankly, at the end of the day, all bombs are crude devices, and it is the way they are triggered that can be sophisticated.”
Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick also announced that President Barack Obama would attend an interfaith service honoring the victims of the tragedy at 11 a.m. on Thursday at Cathedral of the Holy Cross in South Boston. White House press secretary Jay Carney said the first lady would also attend.
Patrick and Boston Mayor Thomas Menino also said a new centralized fund was set up in order to to gather donations to help families affected by the tragedy. Called The One Fund Boston, contributions can be made through a website, onefundboston.org.
As Boston struggled to return to normal, the New York Yankees, longstanding rivals of the Boston Red Sox, played “Sweet Caroline,” an anthem of the Red Sox’ Fenway Park, at their game Tuesday night. The Red Sox, playing in Cleveland, hung a jersey in the dugout with the uniform number 617, representing the Boston area code, and the words “Boston Strong.”