BOSTON — Investigators poring over photos and video from the Boston Marathon have an image of a potential suspect in the deadly bombing but do not know his name and have not questioned him, a law enforcement official said Wednesday.
A law enforcement official who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity and was not authorized to discuss the case publicly confirmed only that investigators had an image of a potential suspect and had not established his identity as of late Wednesday night.
A law enforcement official briefed on the investigation told the Associated Press that a suspect was in custody. The official, who was not authorized to divulge details of the investigation, said the suspect was expected in federal court.
But the FBI and the U.S. attorney’s office in Boston emphasized that no arrests had been made.
“Contrary to widespread reporting, there have been no arrests made in connection with the Boston Marathon attack,” the FBI said in a statement. “Over the past day and a half, there have been a number of press reports based on information from unofficial sources that has been inaccurate. Since these stories often have unintended consequences, we ask the media, particularly at this early stage of the investigation, to exercise caution and attempt to verify information through appropriate official channels before reporting.”
The official who spoke to the AP about someone being taken into custody stood by the information even after it was disputed.
Meanwhile, a bomb threat forced the evacuation of the courthouse in midafternoon, the U.S. Marshals Service said, and security officials were sweeping the area. Workers were allowed back into the courthouse a short time later.
Law enforcement agencies have pleaded for the public to come forward with photos, videos or any information that might help them solve the case. Police also gathered surveillance video from businesses.
Multiple news organizations, citing unidentified sources, reported Wednesday that a video surveillance camera at the Boylston Street Lord & Taylor department store showed a suspect with a backpack near the finish line.
Also, authorities Wednesday confirmed the identity of the third victim of the two blasts. The Shenyang Evening News, a state-run Chinese newspaper, identified the victim as Lu Lingzi, who had been a graduate student at Boston University.
The blasts also killed 8-year-old Martin Richard of Boston and 29-year-old Krystle Campbell of Medford, both of whom were memorialized with prayer services and vigils on Tuesday and Wednesday. Two Cape Ann churches, St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in Lanesville and the First Congregational Church in Rockport also opened their doors to prayer services Wednesday night.
The FBI, which is leading the probe along with other federal, state and local authorities, has confirmed it is carrying out the probe as an act of terrorism — due at least in part to the fact that they believe the bombs were fashioned out of ordinary kitchen pressure cookers packed with explosives, nails, ball bearings and metal shards, tactics that military and anti-terrorism officials have seen in places like Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iraq. Investigators believe the bombs were hidden in duffel bags and left on the ground.
The bombs exploded some 10 seconds and roughly 150 yards apart, tearing off limbs and spattering streets with blood.
Scores of victims remained hospitalized Wednesday, many with grievous injuries. Fourteen were listed in critical condition. Doctors who treated the wounded corroborated reports that the bombs were packed with shrapnel.
The trauma surgery chief at Boston Medical Center reiterated that most of the injuries his hospital treated were to the legs.
“We have a lot of lower extremity injuries, so I think the damage was low to the ground and wasn’t up,” Dr. Peter Burke said. “The patients who do have head injuries were blown into things or were hit by fragments that went up.”