At a dramatic press conference today the FBI released video and images of two ‘armed and extremely dangerous’ suspects they want to speak to in connection with Monday’s deadly Boston marathon bombing which killed three people and injured over 180.
The blurry images show the as-yet unidentified men walking in single file toward the finishing line of the race eastward along Boylston Street at 14.37 p.m., approximately 13 minutes before the twin detonations which came 12 seconds apart.
Designated by FBI Special Agent Richard DesLaurier as ‘suspect one’ and suspect two’ – suspect one is dressed in dark clothes, a baseball cap and wearing sunglasses, while suspect two is clearly wearing a white baseball cap on backwards – both are seen in the images with back-packs on.
Agent DesLaurier confirmed there are images of suspect two placing a backpack on the floor at the site of the second explosion ‘within minutes’ of the blast – but the FBI declined to show this sequence as specific details about it may be important for future questioning.
Making a direct appeal to the public, agent DesLaurier asked for any information, however insignificant that could lead to them identifying and eventually speaking to these individuals.
Agent DesLauriers said investigators were particularly interested in interviewing witnesses who were in front of the Forum restaurant, site of the second blast.
He also cautioned the public not to approach the two men, even if they think they identify them.
‘We consider them to be armed and extremely dangerous, No one should approach them, do not apprehend them,’ said DesLaurier.
‘Do not take any action on your own. If you see these men, contact law enforcement.’
Minutes before the long-awaited briefing, the local Boston FOX affiliate released a picture of a person that they believe is the possible second bomber.
The station said that they confirmed the photo was confirmed by the FBI.
Earlier on Thursday, high school student Salah Barhoum denied being involved in the bombing after much speculation about images of the 17-year-old track star standing next to his reported coach, who was wearing a white baseball cap.
The bombings that killed three people and wounded 176 began a week of security scares that rattled the United States and evoked memories of the September 11, 2001 hijacked plane attacks.
‘Today we are enlisting the public’s help to identify the two suspects,’ Richard DesLauriers, the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation’s special agent in charge in Boston, told a news conference.
Both men carried backpacks that were believed to contain the bombs. The man identified as suspect No. 1 wore a dark baseball cap. Suspect No. 2 wore a white cap backwards and was seen setting down his backpack on the ground, DesLauriers said.
‘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,’ he said while cautioning that they were considered armed and dangerous.
Investigators hoped the men would be identifiable within hours of the release of the pictures and video, a national security official said, speaking on condition of anonymity.
Investigators were looking at the men for some period of time before deciding to make the videos public, and they had extensive video and still pictures to justify the FBI decision to label the two men as suspects, the official said.
At least one other person of interest who featured in crime scene pictures had been ruled out as a suspect. Also ruled out earlier in the week was a Saudi student who was injured in the attacks, the official said.
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 out 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.
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.
Within moments of the announcement, the FBI website crashed, perhaps because of a crush of visitors.
In the images, both men appear to be wearing dark jackets. Suspect 1 appears to be wearing a backpack. The planting of the backpack is not depicted in the video footage that was made public.
The FBI made no mention of the men’s height, weight or age range and would not discuss the men’s ethnicity.
‘It would be inappropriate to comment on the ethnicity of the men because it could lead people down the wrong path potentially,’ said FBI agent Greg Comcowich, a spokesman for the Boston FBI office.
The information on the first suspect was developed within a day or so before its release, DesLauriers said. Agent Daniel Curtin said the FBI did not issue the photos earlier because authorities wanted to be meticulous: ‘It’s important to get it right.’
At the Cathedral of the Holy Cross earlier in the day, President Obama declared to the people of Boston:
‘Your resolve is the greatest rebuke to whoever committed this heinous act.’ He spoke in almost mocking terms of those who commit such violence.
‘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.
Seven victims remained in critical condition. Killed were 8-year-old Martin Richard of Boston, 29-year-old restaurant manager Krystle Campbell of Medford, Mass., and Lu Lingzi, a 23-year-old Boston University graduate student from China.
Got any information? click https://bostonmarathontips.fbi.gov. You can also call 1-800-CALL-FBI (1-800-225-5324), prompt #3, with information.