Bomb squad detonates backpacks left at Marathon finish line

A police officers stands guard at the Boylston Street finish line on Tuesday, April 15, 2014. Photo: Nicolaus Czarnecki/Metro
A police officers stands guard at the Boylston Street finish line on Tuesday, April 15, 2014. Photo: Nicolaus Czarnecki/Metro

 

Update: At a press conference just after 10:30 p.m., Boston Police Deputy Supt. Randall Halstead said police at the finish line monitoring today’s commemoration of the one year anniversary of the bombings noticed the suspect walking without shoes on the rain-soaked street and stopped him for questioning. He then allegedly told police he had a rice cooker in his backpack.

“With the marathon coming, we are taking it serious,” Halstead said. “Our officers have been trained in looking for any kind of suspicious activity and when it is brought to their attention or they notice it, which was in this case, they act upon it.”

The suspect, a male in his early 20s, faces charges of possession of a hoax device, disorderly conduct and disturbing the peace, police said.

Update: At about 9:50 p.m., nearly three hours after a man dressed in black with a backpack was spotted running down Boylston Street screaming, Green Line service resumed and police said they “disrupted” two bags.

The MBTA said Green Line trains, which had been stopped between Haymarket and Kenmore stations during the investigation, started running again, but are bypassing Copley station.

At about the same time, Boston police said the two unattended bags near the Marathon finish line were “disrupted” for precautionary reasons.

Original story is below:

The Boston Police Bomb Squad has detonated two backpacks left near the Boston Marathon finish line on Boylston Street, which forced an evacuation of the area and suspended Green Line service between Haymarket and Kenmore Tuesday night.

According to a tweet from WBZ sent just after 7 p.m., WBZ-TV photographers on scene said they saw a man with a backpack screaming “Boston Strong” before police cleared everyone from the area.

“Witnesses say the man was wearing a long black veil. It is unclear whether or not the man was taken into custody,” the tweet stated.

At 8:20 p.m. Boston Police sent out a public safety alert confirming a male suspect in custody in connection to “the unattended backpacks found at the Finish Line.”

The Professional Firefighters of Massachusetts also tweeted a video of the suspect, posted on Instagram by Channel 7 reporter Sarah French.

Police shut down Boylston after barefoot male walks toward finish line screaming "Boston Strong" carrying a huge black backpack.

Just before 8 p.m. Boston police issued a media advisory asking that live video of the backpacks not be broadcast, as the bomb squad deployed robots to investigate the bags.

“For officer safety – media outlets are discouraged from showing any live video of backpacks found near Finish Line,” the tweet said.

Boston Police first issued a public safety alert via Twitter at 7:42 p.m.

“Boylston St has been closed & MBTA Green Line service temporarily suspended. Community members asked to avoid area,” the tweet said.

MBTA police also tweeted that Green Line trains were bypassing Copley station due to a police investigation.

The incident comes just hours after a ceremony commemorating the one year anniversary of the Marathon bombings concluded at the site.

 



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