Updated:The Federal Bureau of Investigation has isolated images of what it believes to be a suspect in the Boston Marathon bombings, a government official said today.
Surveillance video and other images helped FBI agents identify a suspicious person right around the moment one of the bags believed to contain a bomb was deposited near the finish line of the race, the official said.
The FBI and the Boston police department said no arrests have been made in the case. The Associated Press reported that a suspect was in custody but later retracted the report.
Authorities investigating the blasts that killed three and injured more than 175 Monday said they believed the two bombs were assembled from household pressure cookers, a crude but effective explosive that has been thwarted in prior U.S. terror plots.
Authorities found a pressure-cooker lid believed to have been part of a bomb that apparently was catapulted onto the roof of a nearby building, a person briefed on the investigation said Wednesday. A small piece of a circuit board they suspect was part of one of the explosive devices also was found at the scene, the person said.
Devlin Barrett explains the significance of the use of a pressure cooker that authorities believed was used in the Boston Marathon bombings. He also points out past attacks in which pressure cookers were also used. Photo: AP Images.
Investigators are exploring whether the bombs were assembled not far from the scene of the horrific explosions since transporting such improvised devices over any significant distance could trigger a premature detonation, said a law-enforcement official with knowledge of the matter.
Investigators have been canvassing Boston hotels and short-term rentals for clues on where the bombs could have been made, the official said.
As of Wednesday morning, no one had claimed responsibility for the attacks and no suspect had been identified.
Federal Bureau of Investigation agents, with the assistance of U.S. Customs and Border Protection personnel, have been scrutinizing passenger lists from flights that had recently arrived at Boston’s Logan International Airport for clues, the official said.
Among the injured, 13 people had to have limbs amputated, hospitals said.
The blasts killed 8-year-old Martin Richard of Boston’s Dorchester section, whose mother and sister were seriously injured; 29-year-old Krystle Campbell, a restaurant manager from Medford, Mass.; and Boston University graduate student Lu Lingzi, a Chinese citizen.
Celeste Corcoran, who was at the race to cheer on her sister, Carmen Acabbo, was one of many victims whose limbs were amputated. The 47-year-old hairdresser from Lowell, Mass., lost both legs, and her 18-year-old daughter, Sydney, was grievously injured.
But when Ms. Corcoran came out of surgery Monday night, her first thought, Ms. Acabbo said, “was that she was so mad she didn’t get to see me finish.”
Ms. Acabbo responded: “I finished my marathon and now I’m going to run yours with you, every step of the way.”
The materials believed to have been used in the bombs closely match those that Naser Jason Abdo, a young Texas soldier, had amassed before he was charged by the FBI in Texas in 2011 with plotting to attack fellow soldiers.
An FBI expert testified at his trial that it would have taken about 30 minutes to build a bomb using materials Mr. Abdo had gathered-including a pressure cooker, gunpowder, clocks and electrical tape-by following instructions in an al Qaeda magazine found in his backpack. Mr. Abdo was convicted and is serving life in prison.
In the foiled Times Square bombing of 2010, authorities said one of the three devices would-be bomber Faisal Shahzad had assembled was a pressure cooker containing more than 100 firecrackers.
The Boston investigation, led by the FBI, intensified Tuesday, with authorities interviewing witnesses and examining what one official called the “most complex crime scene” the city had ever dealt with.
Hundreds of federal and local investigators began to slog through a vast trove of videos, photos, local hotel manifests and other potential evidence to determine how bombs could have been placed in an area that had been swept for explosives by bomb-sniffing dogs, said people familiar with the investigation.
Boston FBI chief Richard DesLauriers said investigators would go to the “ends of the earth” to find those involved in the attack and that “the range of suspects remains wide open.” More than 2,000 people called in tips to the FBI, he said.
“This will be a world-wide investigation,” he said.
The bombs appeared to have been built by packing the pressure cookers with a black powder explosive as well as nails and pellets to maximize casualties, a lawmaker briefed by investigators said.
Read more at The Wall Street Journal