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Boston Marathon Explosions Injure Several Runners; Race Called Off

Boston Marathon Explosions Injure Several Runners; Race Called Off
Screen-grab of Boston Globe video (see the clip at the bottom).

Many updates at the bottom: Three are now reported dead; L.A. authorities are on heightened alert. First posted at 12:23 p.m.

See also: L.A. Witness In Boston: 'We Were Caught Between 2 Explosions.'

About a half-dozen people were injured in two mid-race explosions at the Boston Marathon today, according to reports.

The blasts shut down the race, although it was about half way over.

Blood was seen cover the ground near one explosion. CNN's Wolf Blitzer called it "pretty gruesome."

The network said one blast went off on one side of a street at or near the finish line, then another explosion happened on the other side of the street.

[Added at 12:32 p.m.]: A witness told CNN he saw six or seven people "piled around" near one of the explosions. He said they happened near the finish line, perhaps a mile away, but not at it, on Boylston Street.

[Added at 12:39]: At least one photo shows smoke near the finish line. CNN reports the explosions might have happened near Boston's Mandarin hotel.

[Warning: Some of the photos, below, are graphic].

[Added at 12:53 p.m.]: L.A. County Sheriff's Department spokesman Steve Whitmore says the county's Emergency Operations Center has been activated and that extra security would be added to high-profile locations and events, including sports contests, in the area.

An LAPD spokeswoman tells us that the department is not taking any extra precautions at this point.

[Added at 1:05 p.m.]: CNN says two people have died and that 22 people were injured in the blasts.

[Added at 1:11 p.m.]: Vice President Joe Biden today called the blasts "a bombing," though it's not clear if he had any special intelligence on the situation or was just expressing his opinion about what happened.

[Added at 1:28 p.m.]: AP quotes intelligence sources who say two explosive devices have been found near the scene of the blasts, which is near Copley Square and the finish line.


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[Added at 1:31 p.m.]: L.A. County Sheriff Lee Baca issued this statement this afternoon:

While the cause of the explosions this morning at the Boston Marathon are still under investigation, our vigilance has been raised. The heightened alert of the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department includes increased patrols to create a more visible presence where people congregate, such as government buildings, shopping centers, athletic events, and public transit. Partnering with local police and public safety agencies and other countywide efforts have been enhanced, including opening the Department Operations Center to maximize communication.

As always, we encourage the public: 'If You See Something, Say Something.' The greatest deterrent to crime is often a phone call to law enforcement by a person who sees something that just doesn't look right. Our thoughts and prayers go to the many victims, families, friends, and first responders affected by this tragedy.

[Added at 1:34 p.m.]: CNN Says the blasts were "definitively" the result of "bombs."

[Added at 1:42 p.m.]: Reuters and other news outlets are reporting that a third explosion had occurred at John F. Kennedy Presidential Library & Museum in Boston.


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Another report refutes that, however, saying a fire at the library today was unrelated.

CNN says law enforcement sources believe the blasts constituted a "well planned and coordinated event."

The latest updates, along with video, can be found on the next page.

[Added at 1:51 p.m.]: The Boston Herald quotes a witness:

Somebody's leg flew by my head. I gave my belt to stop the blood.

CNN quotes another witness who said he saw "amputees."

Boston police Commissioner Ed Davis warned tourists to return to their rooms, calling the blasts an "ongoing incident."

He said the JFK blast was indeed a third explosion related to the apparent attack.

He said the original two blasts happened 50 to 100 yards about about 2:50 p.m. near the finish line. He said there were "multiple casualties" at both locations.

He said that as people fled the area they left behind bags that now have to be checked out.

[Warning: Video is disturbing]:

[Added at 2:16 p.m.]: CNN says as many as 49 people have been reported injured so far.

[Added at 2:18 p.m.]: In 2007 Boston authorities were the victim of a false bomb scare when LED placards from the Cartoon Network show Aqua Teen Hunger Force were placed around the city. They were believed to be possible explosive devices at first, prompting a major law enforcement response.

[Added at 2:25 p.m]: The LAPD tells the Weekly it has increased its "awareness" citywide and that there will be a greater law enforcement presence at tonight's Dodgers 7:10 p.m. game against the Padres at home.

The department asked Angelenos to "report things that don't seem to fit," a spokeswoman said.

[Added at 2:31 p.m.]: L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa issued a statement this afternoon:

Our thoughts and prayers are with the people in Boston in the aftermath of this senseless tragedy. We are working closely with our law enforcement partners to monitor the situation and stand ready to aid Boston in any way possible. The LAPD and other public safety agencies will remain vigilant at all public and sporting events in Los Angeles.

[Added at 2:39 p.m.]: CNN says Boston authorities believe the JFK Library situation comprises a fire that was unrelated to the blasts.

[Added at 2:42 p.m.]: Metro, which runs the county's transit, says its security "is on a heightened state of alert while normal Metro bus and rail service continues."

Metro:

Metro passengers are likely to see or encounter extra patrols by the Los Angeles Sheriff's Department, which provides security for the Metro system. This may include bomb sniffing dogs at Los Angeles Union Station and other Metro facilities.

Metro reminds the public: "See Something, Say Something" to report any suspicious activity or unattended packages. In order to contact the Sheriff's Department, call 323-563-5000 or press the intercom in rail stations to speak to law enforcement.

[Added at 2:48 p.m.]: Metrolink, which provides train service to outlaying Southern California suburbs, said its riders could also expect to see increased security.

CNN this afternoon said: "'We have now concluded this is a terrorist attack."

[Update at 3:15 p.m.]: President Obama addressed the nation today. He fell short of calling this a terrorist attack, but he did say this:

We still do not know who did this or why. And people shouldn't jump to conclusions before we know all the facts.

We will find out who did this, we will find out why they did this. Any responsible groups will feel the full weight of justice.

He also said that the American people would say "a prayer for Boston tonight:"

Boston is a tough and resilient town. So are its people.

[Added at 3:25 p.m.]: LAX stated this today:

Airport Police is working closely with local & federal law enforcement partners to ensure the safe and secure operation of LAWA's airports.

CNN quotes a congressional source who said two un-exploded devices were found at a hotel on Boylston Street, which is where the Boston blasts took place, and at an undisclosed location.

[Added at 3:30 p.m.]: L.A. City Attorney Carmen Trutanich issued a statement that says, in part:

Today is a sad day in New England, across our country, and around the world.

I want to express my sincere condolences to the families and friends of those who have died and to all those who have been injured in the explosions at the Boston Marathon finish line.

[Added at 3:34 p.m.]: CNN and other outlets are reporting that one of the dead was an 8-year-old.

[Added at 3:56 p.m.]: CNN says that, in addition to the two deaths, eight people were critically wounded and as many or more than 100 were injured in the blasts.

[Added at 3:59 p.m.]: L.A. activist Najee Ali said today that a vigil would be held for the Boston victims at 6 p.m. Tuesday at Leimert Park.


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[Update at 11:20 p.m.]: As the FBI took over the investigation tonight, authorities confirmed that three people had died, 17 were critically wounded, 25 sustained serious injuries and 144 total required medical attention.

Eight of the injured were said to be children. The dead included an 8-year-old boy.

Reports indicated that some of the victims were hit with ball bearings, apparently used as shrapnel by whomever made the explosives.

[@dennisjromero / djromero@laweekly.com / @LAWeeklyNews]