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BREAKING NEWS: Explosion at the Boston Marathon

Live coverage of the explosion at the Boston Marathon.

Medical workers aid injured people at the finish line of the 2013 Boston Marathon following an explosion in Boston, Monday, April 15, 2013. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)

Medical workers aid injured people at the finish line of the 2013 Boston Marathon following an explosion in Boston, Monday, April 15, 2013. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)


Curt Nickisch, Reporter for WBUR 90.9 FM, Boston. (@CurtNickisch)

Jessica Stern, one of the country’s foremost experts on terrorism. She has written extensively on terrorism and weapons of mass destruction. Author of, “The Ultimate Terrorists,” and “Terror in the Name of God.”

Thom Kenney, was running in the Boston Marathon, crossing the finish line just a moment before the first explosion went off.

Lucy Miller, registered nurse volunteering in the medical tent at the race.

Congressman William Keating, (D-MA) Member of the House Homeland Security Committee.

David Cid, Executive Director of the memorial Institute for the Prevention of Terrorism. The institute was formed after the 1995 bombing of the Alfred P Murrah Federal Building. 168 people died in that blast.

Rolling Coverage

WBUR, Boston’s NPR news station, offers complete local coverage of the Boston Marathon bombings.


Video of the explosion courtesy of the Boston Globe’s Steve Silva:

Video of the aftermath courtesy of the Boston Globe’s David Abel:


Please be advised that these images may show injured people at the site of the explosion.

Please follow our community rules when engaging in comment discussion on this site.
  • madnomad554

    The sad irony of today’s show covering the CIA and our intelligence community, followed by this.

    Truly sad…

    • harverdphd

       Silly comment

      • madnomad554

         Silly comment??? What are you implying???

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=59000293 Katy Maier

        What a completely unwarranted bit of snark on a page otherwise reserved for active, engaging dialogue. Were you the first to roll your eyes at Alanis Morissette’s use of “irony” too? 

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1155042916 Mike Hanson

    And a Saudi national was arrested … imagine my surprise. 

    • jefe68

      I’ve heard no news about this. Where did you hear this?
      I’m listening to the news right now and there is not one word about any arrests.

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1155042916 Mike Hanson
        • 1Brett1

          The NY Post?!! Seriously?! The article is full of all kinds of discrepancies. 12 dead? Other sources report only 2. A third blast? Other sources say the third suspected blast has now been confirmed as an unrelated fire.   

          • Gregg Smith

            CBS is now backing up the Post story but it really means nothing. 

          • jefe68

            Again, the police here in Boston have not arrested any suspects at this time.

            By the way, a lot of people were running away from the explosions at the time. Some of whom had backpacks.

          • 1Brett1

            My point was that any initial reports that are not verified are going to most likely be false…it is, by the same token, not a good idea to find validity in a New York Post story, particularly one composed in real time as the tragedy is unfolding (they aren’t known for good vetting in many of their reports). The best news reports I’ve seen are ones where only what is actually known/can be confirmed is being reported. 

          • Gregg Smith

            I agree but my thing is even if the story is true it’s impossible to draw any firm conclusions from it at this point. 

          • 1Brett1

            Agreed. Even if they had had a suspect in  custody, it wouldn’t have been wise to draw any conclusions/speculate. 

          • nj_v2

            Even the most basic, easily determined facts are elusive in these kinds of stories.

            Early in this program, Tom said the bomb blasts were 9 or 10 seconds apart. 

            In the local news bit during the first break of the 10 p.m. rebroadcast, the WBUR news reader said they were 15 seconds apart.

            I watched and listened to the video (twice) and i time it at 13 seconds.

        • jefe68

          The Police Commissioner of Boston just said that they have not arrested anyone.
          Stop posting BS. 

    • nj_v2

      Let the bigotry begin. No one has any idea what’s going on at this point. The guy could have just been running from the chaos. Earlier story from the Post that someone was in custody was bogus. But don’t let any of that get in the way of your preconceived notions, Mike Hanson.

  • Gregg Smith

    This is awful. You guys in Boston didn’t deserve this. My thoughts are with you.

  • WorriedfortheCountry

    My prayers are with the victims.

    Hopefully they will find the scum responsible and string them up.

  • http://www.facebook.com/ray.saloomey Ray Saloomey

    Most likely a homegrown right wing act – remember it’s Patriots Day in Mass and most right wing extremists think of themselves as Patriots. And no, I’m not a ‘liberal’, I didn’t vote for Obama and I do own guns and don’t want any more limits on gun ownership. Just being realistic.

    • Gregg Smith

      No you’re not, you’re speculating. Most everything we hear now and in the next 24-36 hours is and will be false. 

      • http://www.facebook.com/ray.saloomey Ray Saloomey

         Chill – I’m just saying that I’m not trying to make a political point. Note that I started out with ‘Most likely…’

        • Gregg Smith

          I’m cool, just pointing out the obvious.

        • JGC

          Pls don’t say most likely “home grown” Don’t want to think this is “home grown”

      • 1Brett1

        I agree with the spirit of your comment. I’m already sick of hearing every kind of wild speculation and conspiracy theory regarding this tragedy. That stuff only serves to create more hysteria and fear. Let’s wait for some actual well-vetted evidence/report before we go off on wild tangents about who might have done this and what purpose they had for doing this. 

        We condemn the 24-hour news cycle/media for erroneous reports in an effort to be first in getting “news” out and we find ourselves (especially in the blogosphere) engaging in the same sort of behavior…it’s disgusting.  

      • nj_v2

        Kinda like Benghazi, but you and the other wingers knew exactly what had happened there, eh, Greggggggg???

        • Gregg Smith

          It took more than 5 minutes but after five days it was pretty clear what it wasn’t.

    • harverdphd

       I’m with you…background checks for Republicans buying running shoes…

    • http://www.facebook.com/JoeyCorrao Joe Corrao

      totally irresponsible comments

  • http://www.facebook.com/gary.kay.7777 Gary Kay

    The spirit of evil is working overtime.

  • Boston_mom

    Yes, we were there, my son wanted to see Juli Windsor cross the finish line, she was the subject of David Abel’s Globe article yesterday, so we just went on a whim since he was distracted when she passed through our neighborhood in Natick. We heard and felt it, fortunately did not see it. It got so, so quiet afterwards. People looked confused, craning necks. But it was so still. I grabbed my kids’ hands and started walking in the opposite direction. I thought the second was two smaller, but at that point we were leaving. We were still only a block away. — Reagan 

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1773601213 Jo Ann Vincent

    So very sad

  • sickofthechit

    Within the first 30 minutes of coverage on MSNBC and FOX news I saw one video feed that showed an early 20′s guy in an olive green coat with a black backpack walking sideways filming the carnage of the first blast with a video camera as if he were recording it for analysis later.  He just struck me as suspicious.  I have watched the news for the subsequent three hours and that particular video segment has not been shown again.  I tried to call the 800 number but I guess it is for local calls only.  They said see something say something so I leave it with the onpoint crowd to pass it along.

  • GL Davidson

    My prayers to so many. My request to radio reporters, please don’t just ask people who were in the area when the blasts occurred, but let us listeners know who have you contacted especially amongst maintenance/security/delivery people who might have made deliveries to area buildings; and if there are security cameras in the area what might have been seen in them. I’m bewildered how someone could plant sizable bombs and by-standers would not have questioned what was going on. 

  • graydouga

    What about North Korea?

  • Ellen Dibble

    The state senate apparently has had disruptions by the Tea Party, in transportation appropriations hearings last week, earning themselves the distinction of being thrown out.  I noticed a legislator posting that early today, and posted a comment rather snarky, along with others in the same vein, about the Redcoats haven’t been confiscating weapons for a long, long time.  It’s haunting me a little.  I had asked, do those demonstrators have Boston accents?  I doubted it.

  • http://socialentrepreneurship.change.org/actions/view/twenty-first_century_metric_america_in_your_state BeholdersEye

    Don’t forget the 9 11 terrorists planes came out of Boston…

  • http://www.facebook.com/JoeyCorrao Joe Corrao

    are your guests really going to point blame to right wingers now?  totally irresponsible.

  • ajhodge

    I’ve been listening to WBUR all day from San Francisco and I just keep getting the chills.  Unbelievable.  Unforgivable.

  • http://twitter.com/krypt3ia Dr.Krypt3ia

    Your “Terrorism Expert” is suffering from single player group think. She needs to back off on prognostications on right wing attribution and liking it to gun control.

  • http://www.facebook.com/BGHooke Bruce Hooke

    In a way what worries me most is that I know there are people out there who will come up with fantastic conspiracy theories around this and most likely never trust whatever comes out of the official investigation. For the most part its just sad to me to see people living every day so paranoid and distrustful, but the danger comes from the people inclined to perpetrate this sort of act, who will twist this to support their “cause” and feel spurred to more violence. For example, they will say this is a conspiracy of the Obama administration so they have an excuse to “take away their guns.”

  • graydouga

    Everyone should look up “Operation Northwoods” before putting forward any idea of who is responsible.

  • http://twitter.com/howsim Howard Simpson

    John Winthrop once said, “We must consider
    that we shall be as a city upon a hill. The eyes of all people are upon
    us.” The City of Boston will show the world that this beacon continues
    to shine even brighter through the darkness, and nothing will ever
    eclipse it.

  • WorriedfortheCountry

    President Obama’s comments of support tonight for the people of Boston were spot on and appropriate.

  • roger perrone


  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1221660395 Nicholas Richmond

    Wow, Jessica really put her foot in her mouth. Why on earth she (along with the caller who focused on Newtown) finds it appropriate to use this tragedy to promote her own political beliefs is beyond me. It’s reckless, irresponsible, and does nothing to promote understanding of the tragedy in Boston. What a shame.

    • yberry2

      This is the week of the Oklahoma City bombing.  Domestic terrorism is a real possibility too..

    • samuelpepys

       Again, I’m mystified by these posts.  She refused to be drawn in to speculation by the reporter.  She spoke only about past incidents.  She said she had no facts to go on to even guess in this case.  What were you folks listening to?

      • LollaPalooka

        She wasn’t “drawn into” anything.  Her remarks were decidedly accusatory, and supported by Cid. Anything is possible.  To specifically cite “right Wing extremists AS SHE DID, was completely irresponsible without having any facts to support her baseless claim.

  • NrthOfTheBorder

    Beyond the carnage, tragedy, and senselessness of this act lies a test of character for those in authority, but extending also, to everyone. 

    If you hear somebody casting aspersions or making accusations they’re being irresponsible so confront them – tell them. 

    Sooner or later we’ll know who did this –  in the meantime no one knows, no one has grounds to speculate.  

    • brettearle

      No one is dishonoring the casualties, by attempting to think about what is behind the tragedy.

      It’s the human nature of basic curiosity.

      It is not a dark-side-of-human-nature issue.

      • NrthOfTheBorder

        Perhaps I wasn’t clear.  Of course we’re going to think about, talk about what’s behind this. It’s in voicing – or singling out one group or another that’s irresponsible. 

  • http://www.facebook.com/asloan2 Alex Sloan

    This is only proof that the adage “guns don’t kill people, people kill people” is mostly true. BUT, neither will more guns protect us! This is proof that what we need is peace, and that is a much more complicated prospect than simple law changes can achieve. Education, healthcare, equality and opportunity for all, would be a start.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1221660395 Nicholas Richmond

      I mostly agree, but…peace and gun ownership are not mutually exclusive. Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont are very peaceful places with lax gun laws. Every gun owner I know (including myself) is an agent of peace and respects the tremendous responsibility that comes with gun ownership.

      • Chris B

        Switzerland has a lot of peace. They require a lot more training before allowing one of their citizens to handle a firearm.

        But they also have universal health care and didn’t defund mental health services like the US did in the 80′s. When a gun costs less than a shrink, guess what the solution to life’s problems is going to be?

  • Trond33

    Here starts all the speculation and the finger pointing, 99.9% based upon no expertise or knowledge.

    There are some peculiarities though: 
    1) while the Boston Marathon is world renowned, there are a great number of soft targets in the US that are probably higher on an international terrorist groups list 
    2) it is very unlikely to be state sponsored – right now, the players that might try something are much more likely to attempt a cyber attack
    3) while the blasts were bad, from the video they do not seem to be as powerful as other bombs targeting civilians in other parts of the world, perhaps indicating lack of expertise or access to material
    4) seems that they were opportunity, not making it to the grandstands – maybe because they were not suicide bombers, so seeking a location to leave a package.

    Anyway, it is all pure speculation.  Although, I suspect this is the work of a domestic fringe group or a the work of a few isolated loners.  

    • brettearle

      I’m inclined to agree–although a network like Al Qaeda, at this point, might try to frame some other organization–by simulating the tactics of, for example, domestic terrorists in this country.

      While I realize that strategy, mentioned above, may be somewhat far fetched, Al Qaeda, and its ilk, may have reached that level of sophistication.

  • anonymous12349876

    Jessica, you really need to examine your journalistic ethics. On the air you just accused second amendment supporters of perpetrating the Boston bombing!! You have allowed your emotion-based political philosophy to warp your view of reality beyond recognition. And your philosophy of justice is a hairsbreadth from a mob mentality. NPR, why are you putting this kind of hairbrained commentary on the air? And with our tax dollars, nonetheless!

  • http://www.facebook.com/BGHooke Bruce Hooke

    Regarding the comments about security, it is also worth remembering that this happening in the heart of a major city, with many private residences and office buildings in the area. So, “perimeter security” of the type they use at many other sorts of major events (sporting arenas, inaugurations) simply would not work in this case.

  • anonymous12349876

    Jessica, you really need to examine your journalistic ethics. On the air you just accused second amendment supporters of perpetrating the Boston bombing!! You have allowed your emotion-based political philosophy to warp your view of reality beyond recognition. And your philosophy of justice is a hairsbreadth from a mob mentality. NPR, why are you putting this kind of hairbrained commentary on the air? And with our tax dollars! Shameless.

    • samuelpepys

       No she didn’t.  Seriously.  I listened to the whole conversation.  She didn’t mention 2nd amendment supporters, of whom I am one.  She mentioned right-wing extremists.  Hardly the same thing!  And she mentioned them in reference to past incidents of this kind.  That is, when there are explosions in US cities they have been, statistically speaking, the work of right-wing extremists (extremists being people who blow up innocent children to make a point).  But she said she didn’t know who was responsible and that she didn’t have enough to go on to even guess.

      • anonymous12349876

        Thanks for the feedback. It’s hard to know what someone means by a vague term such as “right wing extremists.” She was clearly using this violent murderous act as an opportunity to grind a political axe and implicate conservatives on the public stage. I’m not the only one who heard it that way based in the other comments. That is shameless. Now 12 days later, we know the accuracy of her prognostication. “Terrorism Expert?” Hardly. Liberal kool-aid drinker.

  • TomK_in_Boston

    This was a horrendous shock, right in my backyard. A beautiful day turns into the worst thing since 9/11. My heart goes out to all the victims. It’s all horrible, but can you imaging finishing a marathon, and then getting your leg blown off?

    I really want to nail the scumbag(s). I’m betting on an NRA/Tea Party/America-hater type – they have been getting ever crazier and Waco and OK City were on Patriot’s day, but I wouldn’t be surprised by an islamic fanatic, either.

    • JGC

      I feel devastated,like you, for the victims involved in this senseless violence, but please do not speculate on who is involved at this early, tense moment.  

    • brettearle

      Could be Islamic planned, posing as RW extremists.

      The kinds of explosives used could be telling.

    • http://read-write-blue.blogspot.com/ RWB

      Your hate has damaged your soul.

      • TomK_in_Boston

        Speculating on who the perp might be is hate? You are a sick man.

  • LollaPalooka

    I tuned in to NPR to get information about this horrific event.  Instead I was assaulted with a baseless diatribe by so-called “expert” Jessica Stern citing “right wing extremists”, and within minutes, hearing David Cid parroting her politicization and finger pointing.
    Have you people no shame?

    • brettearle

      Patriot’s Day brings up, for some, the anniversary of Waco and Timothy McVeigh.

      You don’t see that sort of conclusion as possible?

      It may not be true–but you can’t discount it.

  • albert Sordi

    While the race was on, there were many unmarked blue trucks with fed govt plates parked in the median park area on Commonwealth Avenue with civilian crews.
    After the bombing, these blue truck are in the center of the action, one can be seen with white satellite dishes on top.
    Strange how the media avoids their presence and identity, nor offers a reason for their presence since the morning.
    I imagine these were Homeland Security of something, as there was lots of black SUVs (suburbans) around them as well.
    It seemed as if this govt agency knew what was to happen.

    • JGC


      • albert Sordi

        WHAT DO YOU MEAN “NO” ?????????????????




        • pete18

           I’m sure they were heading to building #7 and took a wrong turn somewhere.

          • albert Sordi

            Hey Pete,  Forget about the truth,  your Big Mac and Hot Wings are calling you.

          • pete18

             Yes, I’ll be ordering extra melted steel on my Big Mac.

    • 1Brett1

      Oh, yeah, you were also talking about how “9-11 was a set-up” this morning…Isn’t there some weird blog for irresponsible conspiracy nuts that you can spend your time on tonight instead of here?

      • brettearle

        Couldn’t agree more.

        Such drivel pollutes this website.

    • Loring Palmer

      Bomb drill participants? See prisonplanet.com. Keep an open mind ’cause anything’s possible in this crazy world.

      • albert Sordi

        Parked on Comm Ave. before the blast, these were clearly emergency disaster vehicles… as opposed to rescue vehicles.   These brand new blue vehicles were located on the greenway of comm ave between Clarendon and Dartmouth Streets. There were a few black unmarked Chevy suburbans amongst them and Boston Fire Dep. had one truck at the very end of the line and had set up some strange tent with a folding exoskeleton at the beginning of all these govt vehicles that all has federal govt plates.   I did see DHS printed on a piece of equipment.  After the blast, a troop of national guard was located on the grass nearby.
        Many doors to these vehicles were open, and people in civlian cloths were obviously training.  The area was not even blocked off as residents and tourists walked right by these vehicles.

      • nj_v2

        Right-o, Nutcase Planet.

        Please keep this crap to yourself.

    • brettearle


      The last thing we need, on this supposed quality thread, is to inject fringe-conspiracy into the ugly mix.

  • JGC

    Please while contemplating fantastical accusations about who might be involved in the Boston Marathon bombing, remember Richard Jewell, the brave security guard at the Atlanta Olympics, who did his duty and was unjustly hounded to his death because of his “profile”. Whoever perpetrated this will not get away, but do not ruin any other lives in the pursuit of the truth.

    • brettearle

      This may not be politically correct:

      But we never found the Tylenol culprit, did we?

      Who says–unfortunate though it may be–that we are going to uncover the Truth, this time, on this act of terrorism, be it foreign or domestic?

  • albert Sordi

    Why is the media only covering the explosion at the grandstands, but not the explosion down the street ?

    I was only able to find that the business involved was owned by Tavistock corp. and that no one was injured or killed there.

    I find this hard to believe given the crowds and the size of that explosion a seen far away.     Why no info on this?

  • 1Brett1

    I just saw on a cable show in their “breaking news” report how cell phone companies were told to turn off all service so as to not cause any possible further detonations, which other sources have reported all afternoon that this was an erroneous report. The disgusting thing is that at the same time on this show the smaller “ticker-tape” underneath the “breaking news” was reporting that none of the phone service providers in the area had received any notices to turn off their service. This is the sort of shoddy reporting that only adds to the confusion in these tragedies. 

  • 1Brett1

    Fox is still playing sound bites from Shepard Smith’s show earlier today where he reported (incorrectly) that police had detained a suspect. After that, in real time, a reporter is now saying police have detained a “Saudi National” and are trying to figure out whether he is here on a student visa, etc…More ostensibly irresponsible reporting. No other sources are reporting that at all…

  • Loring Palmer

    Is it true that there was a bomb drill going on, and announced, just before the marathon? This was to explain the bomb-sniffing-dogs at the finish line. Thus the suspicion raised that this was yet another false flag event. Thank you Alex Jones at prisonradio.com. Shock and awe comes to USA…again?

    • JGC


    • geepers

       Yes. there were dogs. Confirmed.

  • geepers

    Jessica Stern is way out of line since nobody knows who did this yet. And the Southern Poverty Law Center is a racist propaganda unit.

  • http://twitter.com/DRNewcomb Donald R. Newcomb

    I hope you have enough integrity to be thoroughly embarrassed by Jessica Stern’s performance on this show. All she could do is repeat “right wing, anti-government”. The facts have now developed that the bombers were two guys from Chechnya; most likely with Islamic motivations.   

  • Doug Blackburn

    I’ve come to expect a certain … point of view when listening to this show — but I’ve always expected topics to be discussed in an evenhanded fashion, even when a clear bias is presented.  However, Jessica Stern’s contributions to the show were a complete travesty.  One cannot say in one breath that no speculation may be made about the motives of the attackers — and in the next associate this horrific event with those with an opposing political viewpoint.  I hope other free-minded individuals who listened to this broadcast picked up on how quickly those in the media work to politicize and marginalize the viewpoints of others who disagree with them — even to the extent of attempting to tie others’ political stands to horrific, violent attacks.  Most frightful was one caller’s comment about the difficult of separating those who simply think “right-wing” thoughts from those who act on them.  I have no doubt that given the tools to act, such individuals would label conservative thought and ideology as hateful and attempt to criminalize an entire class of society.

    Shame on you, Tom Ashbrook, for not speaking up clearly and distinctly enough when these hostile comments were made.  They reflected poorly on both you and your show.

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