Boston Marathon bombing kills three, injures over 140

BOSTON (AP) — Two bombs exploded in the

crowded streets near the finish line of the Boston Marathon on Monday,

killing at

least three people and injuring more than 130 in a bloody scene of

shattered glass and severed limbs that raised alarms that

terrorists might have struck again in the U.S.

A White House official speaking on condition of anonymity because the investigation was still unfolding said the attack was

being treated as an act of terrorism.

President Barack Obama vowed that those responsible will "feel the full weight of justice."

As many as two unexploded bombs were also

found near the end of the 26.2-mile course as part of what appeared to

be a well-coordinated

attack, but they were safely disarmed, according to a senior U.S.

intelligence official, who also spoke on condition of anonymity

because of the continuing investigation.

The fiery twin blasts took place about 10

seconds and about 100 yards apart, knocking spectators and at least one

runner off

their feet, shattering windows and sending dense plumes of smoke

rising over the street and through the fluttering national

flags lining the route. Blood stained the pavement, and huge

shards were missing from window panes as high as three stories.

"They just started bringing people in with

no limbs," said runner Tim Davey of Richmond, Va. He said he and his

wife, Lisa,

tried to shield their children's eyes from the gruesome scene

inside a medical tent that had been set up to care for fatigued

runners, but "they saw a lot."

"They just kept filling up with more and more casualties," Lisa Davey said. "Most everybody was conscious. They were very


As the FBI took charge of the investigation,

authorities shed no light on a motive or who may have carried out the


and police said they had no suspects in custody. Officials in

Washington said there was no immediate claim of responsibility.

Police said three people were killed. An 8-year-old boy was among the dead, according to a person who talked to a friend of

the family and spoke on condition of anonymity.

Hospitals reported at least 144 people injured, at least 15 of them critically. The victims' injuries included broken bones,

shrapnel wounds and ruptured eardrums.

At Massachusetts General Hospital, Alisdair Conn, chief of emergency services, said: "This is something I've never seen in

my 25 years here ... this amount of carnage in the civilian population. This is what we expect from war."

Some 23,000 runners took part in the race, one of the world's oldest and most prestigious marathons.

One of Boston's biggest annual events, the race winds up near Copley Square, not far from the landmark Prudential Center and

the Boston Public Library. It is held on Patriots Day, which commemorates the first battles of the American Revolution, at

Concord and Lexington in 1775.

Boston Police Commissioner Edward Davis

asked people to stay indoors or go back to their hotel rooms and avoid

crowds as bomb

squads methodically checked parcels and bags left along the race

route. He said investigators didn't know whether the bombs

were hidden in mailboxes or trash cans.

He said authorities had received "no specific intelligence that anything was going to happen" at the race.

The Federal Aviation Administration barred low-flying aircraft within 3.5 miles of the site.

"We still don't know who did this or why," Obama said at the White House, adding, "Make no mistake: We will get to the bottom

of this."

With scant official information to guide them, members of Congress said there was little or no doubt it was an act of terrorism.

"We just don't know whether it's foreign or domestic," said Rep. Michael McCaul, R-Texas, chairman of the House Committee

on Homeland Security.

A few miles away from the finish line and around the same time, a fire broke out at the John F. Kennedy Library. The police

commissioner said that it may have been caused by an incendiary device but that it was not clear whether it was related to

the bombings.

The first explosion occurred on the north side of Boylston Street, just before the finish line, and some people initially

thought it was a celebratory cannon blast.

When the second bomb went off, spectators'

cheers turned to screams. As sirens blared, emergency workers and

National Guardsmen

who had been assigned to the race for crowd control began climbing

over and tearing down temporary fences to get to the blast


The bombings occurred about four hours into the race and two hours after the men's winner crossed the finish line. By that

point, more than 17,000 of the athletes had finished the marathon, but thousands more were still running.

The attack may have been timed for maximum

carnage: 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.

Runners in the medical tent for treatment of dehydration or other race-related ills were pushed out to make room for victims

of the bombing.

A woman who was a few feet from the second

bomb, Brighid Wall, 35, of Duxbury, said that when it exploded, runners

and spectators

froze, unsure of what to do. Her husband threw their children to

the ground, lay on top of them and another man lay on top

of them and said, "Don't get up, don't get up."

After a minute or so without another explosion, Wall said, she and her family headed to a Starbucks and out the back door

through an alley. Around them, the windows of the bars and restaurants were blown out.

She said she saw six to eight people bleeding profusely, including one man who was kneeling, dazed, with blood trickling down

his head. Another person was on the ground covered in blood and not moving.

"My ears are zinging. Their ears are zinging," Wall said. "It was so forceful. It knocked us to the ground."

Competitors and race volunteers were crying as they fled the chaos. Authorities went onto the course to carry away the injured,

while race stragglers were rerouted away from the smoking site.

Roupen Bastajian, a state trooper from Smithfield, R.I., had just finished the race when he heard the blasts.

"I started running toward the blast. And there were people all over the floor," he said. "We started grabbing tourniquets

and started tying legs. A lot of people amputated. ... At least 25 to 30 people have at least one leg missing, or an ankle

missing, or two legs missing."

The race honored the victims of the Newtown, Conn., shooting with a special mile marker in Monday's race.

Boston Athletic Association president Joanne Flaminio previously said there was "special significance" to the fact that the

race is 26.2 miles long and 26 people died at Sandy Hook Elementary School.