The Boston Marathon came to a halt after two explosions were reported near the race's finish line. Preliminary reports say at least two are dead and more than 100 are injured. President Obama made a statement Monday evening.
BOSTON — Two explosions shattered the finish of the Boston Marathon on Monday, sending authorities out on the course to carry away the injured while stragglers in the 26.2-mile race stopped altogether, in what is being described as a smoky and bloodied scene.
A law enforcement official has confirmed that one of the two victims killed today was eight years old, both CNN and NBC News are reporting.
The FBI and now the White House are deeming this a terrorist attack, although it is unsure if it is domestic or international.
In a national address Monday evening, President Obama said, "We still do not know who did this or why. But make no mistake, we will get to the bottom of this. Any responsible individuals, any responsible groups will feel the full weight of justice."
The president did not stay for reporters' questions, and focused on the help given to the victims and families in his speech. "The American people will say a prayer for Boston tonight," he said.
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At least two people are dead and 100 others injured, according to a report by the Boston Globe. Boston police have also confirmed an "incendiary device or fire" at the John F. Kennedy Library, a few miles away.
In a news conference, Boston Police Commissioner Ed Davis confirmed the explosions and provided security measures for Boston citizens. "Don't go any place and congregate in large crowds," Davis said.
Davis also said the incident is an ongoing event and said it is unclear if the explosion at the JFK library is related to the two explosions at the finish line.
Both Davis and Boston Gov. Deval Patrick expressed the necessity for tips and information from witnesses. The Boston Bombs Tipline can be reached at 800-494-TIPS, and to locate victims, the public can call 617-635-4500.
A law enforcement official said cellphone service has been shut down in the Boston area to prevent any potential remote detonations of explosives. But officials with Verizon Wireless and Sprint Nextel said there had been no such requests.
Bing Maps. Boston Marathon explosions: Explosions were reported near the finish line of the Boston Marathon on Monday.
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Two high-level U.S. law enforcement sources said one or more bombs was responsible for the explosions. An intelligence official said that two more explosive devices have been found and are being dismantled near the scene.
The explosions occurred as thousands of runners finished the 117th running of the Boston Marathon, with crowds watching and cheering at the finish line, with the clock reading at just over four hours.
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The New York Police Department has stepped up security around landmarks in Manhattan, including near prominent hotels, said Paul Browne, deputy commissioner of the NYPD.
Competitors and race volunteers were crying as they fled the chaos. Bloody spectators were being carried to the medical tent that had been set up to care for fatigued runners.
"There are a lot of people down," said one man, whose bib No. 17528 identified him as Frank Deruyter of North Carolina. He was not injured, but marathon workers were carrying one woman, who did not appear to be a runner, to the medical area as blood gushed from her leg. A Boston police officer was wheeled from the course with a leg injury that was bleeding.
Neither race officials nor public officials could immediately estimate the number or degree of injuries.
EXPLOSIONS HEARD SECONDS APART
About three hours after the winners crossed the line, there was a loud explosion on the north side of Boylston Street, just before the photo bridge that marks the finish line. Another explosion could be heard a few seconds later.
Smoke rose from the blasts, fluttering through the national flags lining the route of the world's oldest and most prestigious marathon. TV helicopter footage showed blood staining the pavement in the popular shopping and tourist area known as the Back Bay.
"There are people who are really, really bloody," said Laura McLean, a runner from Toronto, who was in the medical tent being treated for dehydration when she was pulled out to make room for victims of the explosions. "They were pulling them into the medical tent."
Cherie Falgoust was waiting for her husband, who was running the race.
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"I was expecting my husband any minute," she said. "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."
Runners who had not finished the race were diverted straight down Commonwealth Avenue and into a family meeting area, according to an emergency plan that had been in place.
Mike Mitchell of Vancouver, Canada, a runner who had finished the race, said he was looking back at the finish line and saw a "massive explosion."
Smoke rose 50 feet in the air, Mitchell said. People began running and screaming after hearing the noise, Mitchell said.
"Everybody freaked out," Mitchell said.
The Secret Service expanded its security perimeter at the White House on Monday following the explosions at the Boston Marathon.
Secret Service spokesman Ed Donovan said the measure was taken "out of an abundance of caution" and noted that it was not unusual to expand or contract the security perimeters.
President Barack Obama was briefed on the explosions by FBI Director Robert Mueller and Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano. The White House said the president also spoke with Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick and Boston Mayor Tom Menino and pledged to provide whatever federal support was needed in responding to the incident.
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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. He said during the call that his prayers were with those in Boston.
The Secret Service, as part of its expanded security near the White House, shut down Pennsylvania Avenue, cordoning off the area with yellow police tape. Several Secret Service patrol cars also blocked off the entry points to the road.
The White House was not on lockdown and tourists and other onlookers were still able to be in the park across the street from the executive mansion.
This is a breaking news update. Please check back soon for further information.