FROM WIRE AND STAFF REPORTS
Gloucester Daily Times
---- — BOSTON — The FBI released photos and video Thursday of two men they confirmed are “suspects” in Monday’s Boston Marathon bombing and asked for the public’s help in identifying them, zeroing in on the two men on surveillance-camera footage less than three days after the deadly attack.
The photos depict one man in a dark baseball cap and the other in a white cap worn backward. The men were seen walking together in the crowd, and the one in the white hat was seen setting down a backpack at the site of one of the second explosion, said Richard DesLauriers, FBI agent in charge in Boston.
“Somebody out there knows these individuals as friends, neighbors, co-workers or family members of the suspects. Though it may be difficult, the nation is counting on those with information to come forward and provide it to us,” DesLauriers said.
Within moments of the announcement, the FBI website crashed, believed to be because of a crush of visitors.
The images were released hours after President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama attended an interfaith service at Boston’s Cathedral of the Holy Cross to remember the three people killed and more than 180 wounded in the twin blasts Monday at the marathon finish line.
The two men — dubbed Suspect 1 (in the dark hat) and Suspect 2 (in the white hat) — are considered armed and extremely dangerous, DesLauriers said, and people who see them should not approach them.
“Do not take any action on your own,” he warned.
The break in the investigation came just days after the attack that tore off limbs, shattered windows and raised the specter of another terrorist attack on U.S. soil. FBI photo-analysis specialists have been analyzing a mountain of surveillance footage and amateur pictures and video for clues to who carried the attack and why.
Generally, law enforcement agencies release photos of suspects only as a last resort, when they need the public’s help in identifying or capturing someone, analysts said.
Releasing photos can be a mixed bag: It can tip off a suspect and deny police the element of surprise. It can also trigger an avalanche of tips, forcing police to waste valuable time chasing them down.
At the cathedral earlier in the day, Obama declared to the people of Boston: “Your resolve is the greatest rebuke to whoever committed this heinous act.”
“We finish the race, and we do that because of who we are,” the president said to applause. “And that’s what the perpetrators of such senseless violence — these small, stunted individuals who would destroy instead of build and think somehow that makes them important — that’s what they don’t understand.”
“We will find you,” he warned those behind the attack.
Earlier, Obama sought to inspire a stricken city and comfort an unnerved nation during the interfaith service, declaring that Boston “will run again” and vowing to hunt down the perpetrators of the twin blasts that brought mayhem and death to the Boston Marathon.
“If they sought to intimidate us, to terrorize us ... It should be pretty clear right now that they picked the wrong city to do it,” Obama said.
The president spoke at an interfaith service at Boston’s Cathedral of the Holy Cross, held to honor the three people killed and more than 170 injured when a pair of bombs ripped through the crowd gathered Monday afternoon near the finish line of the historic race.
“We may be momentarily knocked off our feet,” Obama said. “But we’ll pick ourselves up. We’ll keep going. We will finish the race.”
“This time next year, on the third Monday in April, the world will return to this great American city to run harder than ever and cheer even louder for the 118th Boston Marathon,” he declared.
Obama’s remarks, which followed addresses by Gov. Deval Patrick and Boston Mayor Thomas Menino, also came some two hours after U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano confirmed that the FBI wanted to speak with two men seen in at least one video from the Patriots Day Marathon, but she stopped short of calling them suspects as of this morning.
Napolitano told the House Homeland Security Committee that “there is some video that raised the question” of two men the FBI would like to interview. Napolitano said it’s also still unclear whether the bombs that exploded near the finish line of the Boston Marathon were the work of foreign or domestic terrorists.
Napolitano’s comments came as thousands of people crammed inside and gathered outside Boston’s Cathedral of the Holy Cross for the interfaith service. The service was open to the public on a first-come, first-seated basis. People started lining up before 5 a.m. even though doors opened at 8 a.m. The line stretched at least two city blocks. A heavy police presence surrounded the cathedral in the city’s South End, and nearby streets were closed to vehicles.
Someone outside held a green flag with the words “forgiveness” and “peace” on it.
“I’m excited to be a witness to healing and grace and peace,” said Wendy Vanderhart of Arlington, associate conference minister in the United Church of Christ congregation, said as she waited to get inside the roughly 2,000-seat cathedral.
Among those attending the service was Congressman John Tierney, whose 6th Massachusetts House District includes all of Cape Ann.
“Too many men, women and children are suffering today, mourning the loss of loved ones or facing a long recovery for themselves or their friends and family members,” Tierney said. “Our city was attacked, but our spirit will not break. We have seen citizens join together to support strangers, and we have witnessed the heroism of our first responders.”Earlier this week, Congressman Tierney joined the Massachusetts Congressional Delegation in introducing a resolution honoring the victims of the Marathon bombings, recognizing the first responders who helped those in need, and committing to provide all necessary resources to bring the perpetrator or perpetrators to justice.
We will update this story here at gloucestertimes.com later today as more news develops. To have text updates regarding this story and other local Breaking News coverage, just sign up for the Times’ free text alert service on the gloucestertimes.com homepage.
For more up-to-date coverage, follow the Times news team on Facebook and in Twitter.com@gdtnews. For full coverage, look to tomorrow’s print and online editions of the Gloucester Daily Times and gloucestertimes.com.