GloucesterTimes.com, Gloucester, MA

April 17, 2013

Marathon bombs packed with shrapnel

Source: Boston Marathon bombs packed with shrapnel

From Wire and Staff Reports
Gloucester Daily Times

---- — BOSTON — The bombs that ripped through the crowd at Monday’s Boston Marathon were fashioned out of pressure cookers and packed with metal shards, nails and ball bearings to inflict maximum carnage, a person briefed on the investigation said Tuesday.

And the FBI, which took the lead role in carrying out the investigation into the attack on the annual Patriots Day road race, joined President Obama in confirming that the agency is now probing the twin bombings as a case of domestic or international terrorism.

The two explosive devices — Gov. Deval Patrick and other officials said Tuesday that, contrary to Monday reports, there were no other unexploded devices found along the route or around Boston — had been placed in 6-liter kitchen pressure cookers, hidden in black duffel bags and left on the ground. They were packed with shrapnel, the person said.

The person said law enforcement officials have some of the bomb components but do not yet know what was used to set off the explosives.

A doctor treating the wounded essentially corroborated the person’s account, saying one of the victims was maimed by what looked like ball bearings or BBs. Doctors also said they removed a host of sharp objects from the victims, including nails that were sticking out of one little girl’s body.

Similar pressure-cooker explosives have been used in Afghanistan, India, Nepal and Pakistan, according to a July 2010 intelligence report by the FBI and Homeland Security. Also, one of the three devices used in the May 2010 Times Square attempted bombing was a “pressure cooker,” the report said.

“Placed carefully, such devices provide little or no indication of an impending attack,” the report said.

“We’ve removed BBs and we’ve removed nails from kids. One of the sickest things for me was just to see nails sticking out of a little girl’s body,” said Dr. David Mooney, director of the trauma center at Boston Children’s Hospital.

That confirmation came on a day in which authorities also identified two of the three people who lost their lives in the twin blasts, which exploded within about 100 yards and 10 seconds of each other near the Marathon finish line Monday at 2:52 p.m.

The 8-year-old victim was identified Tuesday as Martin Richard of Dorchester, whose father, identified as Bill Richard, is a 1988 graduate of Salem High School, sources have confirmed. A spokesman for the family said the Richards were attempting to get over the race barriers and into the street when the second blast occurred, killing Martin.

Bill Richard and Henry Richard were not seriously injured, but doctors did remove ball bearings from Bill Richard’s leg, the spokesman said.

A second victim was identified as 29-year-old Krystle Campbell of Medford, who managed a restaurant in Arlington. The third victim was identified as a Boston University student, according to a posted statement by BU officials, but neither the school nor authorities have released the person’s name. BU officials said that the family did not yet want the student’s name publicly released.

Tuesday began with word that FBI agents had searched a Revere apartment overnight and were appealing to the public for amateur video and photos that might yield clues to who carried out the Boston Marathon bombing.

But officials later confirmed that the apartment’s resident, identified as a Saudi national who had been injured — including burns on his hands, suggesting he was close to the explosion — and taken to Brigham & Women’s Hospital Monday night, was not a suspect but merely a witness. Police and federal officials reiterated Tuesday they do not have a suspect or suspects in the case, and that they are continuing to seek the public’s help with any tips, videos or recollections from the scene.

Meanwhile, as the focus turned more closely to the victims, a candle burned on the stoop of the Richards’ single-family home Dorchester Tuesday afternoon, while mourners gathered for a prayer service and vigil in a Dorchester church Tuesday night. At least two prayer services are also planned for tonight for churches in Gloucester and Rockport (see related story).

As the investigation moved forward, officials also said they believe the attack may have been timed for maximum bloodshed: The four-hour mark is typically a crowded time near the finish line because of the slow-but-steady recreational runners completing the race and because of all the friends and relatives clustered around to cheer them on.

Boston Police Commissioner Edward Davis reiterated that authorities had received “no specific intelligence that anything was going to happen” at the race.