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Boston Marathon Bombings: Death Toll Reaches 3 After Blasts Near Finish Line (LIVE BLOG, PHOTOS, VIDEOS)

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Two bombs exploded in the area near the finish line at the Boston Marathon, one of the most famous races in the world, shortly before 3:00 p.m. ET, killing at least two people and injuring over 140.

The blasts destroyed storefronts, caused chaos and wounded runners and bystanders watching the thousands of runner who competed in the marathon.

"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 keep their children's eyes shielded from the gruesome scene inside a medical tent that had been set up to care for fatigued runners, but "they saw a lot."

The Associated Press reported that two more explosive devices were found in Boston later in the afternoon. Boston Police initially reported that there was an incident at the JFK Library, but later reported that it was an unrelated fire. The FAA issued a brief ground stop at Boston's Logan airport, but the stop was lifted later in the afternoon.

U.S. President Barack Obama has been notified of the incident and security has been heightened in Washington, D.C. and New York. President Obama addressed the nation shortly after 6:00 p.m. ET.

"We still do not know who did this or why, and people shouldn't jump to conclusions until we have all the facts," President Obama said. "Make no mistake we will get to the bottom who did this. We will find out who did this and we will find out why they did this," he added.

"The President called Boston Mayor Tom Menino and Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick to express his concern for those who were injured and to make clear that his administration is ready to provide needed support as they respond to the incident,” a White House statement said earlier in the day.

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WARNING: Some of the photos and videos from the scene may be graphic and disturbing. Story continues after slideshow

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A Vine video clip shows the moment of the explosion and a runner being knocked to the ground. Boston police are calling out to members of the public who have video of the finish-line area.

Boston-area hospitals are reporting that many people have serious injuries including significant burns and broken limbs.

More than 2,000 Canadians are entered in this year's Boston Marathon. You can use the marathon's page to check to see the status of runners. If you are trying to contact a loved one in Boston, authorities are suggesting you text rather than call to conserve bandwidth. You can also contact the Canadian Consulate-General in Boston at 1-800-387-3124. Google has also created a person finder.

Conservative MP Ryan Leef ran the marathon today and was blocks away when the bomb went off. "I hear it went off around the 4 hour mark which would have been the heaviest congestion of runners finishing. The crowds of finished runners and spectators would have also been at its peak," he told the Huffington Post Canada

Canadian runners in Boston decried the attack at one of the world's premier athletic events. “It feels like a breach to be honest -- as a runner I feel like they attacked my friends,” Toronto runner Samantha Sykes told the Huffington Post.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper made a statement about today's bombings in Boston.

“I was shocked to learn of the explosions that occurred today during the running of the Boston Marathon. It is truly a sad day when an event as inspiring as the Boston Marathon is clouded by such senseless violence.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with those injured or affected by this horrible incident. We stand with our American neighbours in this difficult time.”

From The Associated Press:

By Meghan Barr And Adam Geller

BOSTON -- It dawned chilly, clear and blue, a parsimonious but perfect serving of New England springtime that _ because it came on the third Monday in April -- unquestionably called for a celebration.

The kind of morning just right for an 11:05 a.m. first pitch at Fenway Park. A day to remind your kids about the heroes of the American Revolution before heading out to stake a place on the curb and cheer on modern-day heroes of the Marathon. A day, Bostonians say, when their city realizes the best of itself.

And then, in 10 seconds of fury and smoke, the joy founded upon 117 years of sweat and aspiration was stolen away.

When a pair of bombs exploded Monday near the finish line of the Boston Marathon, killing at least three people and injuring more than 140, it left a scene of shattered glass and severed limbs that terrorized this city. Spectators who moments before had been cheering family and friends were knocked to the ground. Blood stained the pavement. With reports that two more bombs had been found unexploded, Bostonians and visitors hunkered down in fear.

But to appreciate the totality of what Boston surrendered in those moments of horror requires understanding just how much the city had to lose. Other cities have, no doubt, experienced far more horrific tragedies. But few have had their sense of security ripped away at a moment of such singular exultation, on a day that captures an essential part of this city's soul.

Monday in Boston was Patriots' Day, a holiday unique to New England that brings the region's rich history alive with reenactments recalling the battles of Lexington and Concord that marked the beginning of the American Revolution. For the city's children, it means a day off from school as they begin Spring Break. For 23,000 runners from around the world, the day caps months spent preparing to test body and spirit. It is a day when a city feels like a village, when strangers offer high-fives and free food to runners they'll never see again.

When it's over, runners wander through the streets, proudly wearing medals bearing the image of a unicorn. It is a symbol chosen because it represents the endless pursuit of perfection that lives mostly in myth -- except, that is, in those all-too-brief hours when Boston finds a bit of perfection in itself.

To see all that shattered is a hard feeling to put in to words, Bostonians say. But they tried nonetheless, because it felt right to do so.

For Meredith Saillant, the day's transformation was summed up in minutes, just after she finished running the 26.2-mile (42-kilometre) race, when a gathering with friends in a hotel room overlooking the finish line morphed from a party-in-the-making into a search for an escape route.

"I went into the shower laughing, so happy about what this day was all about -- and I came out and it was all over,'' said Saillant, who lives in the Boston suburb of Brookline. "It's just that sense of completely feeling just vulnerable, like something's been taken from us for no reason, for absolutely no reason, and it's just completely senseless.''

In an old city that prides itself on its institutions, workers at Boston's hospitals seemed stunned by the shrapnel wounds and ruptured eardrums, as much because of the timing and the place they were inflicted as for their severity.

"This is something I've never seen in my 25 years here,'' said Alisdair Conn, chief of emergency services at Massachusetts General Hospital. "This amount of carnage in the civilian population, this is what we expect from war.''

But the pain and despair was hardly limited to the emergency wards. Instead, it spread across the city, echoing off empty cobblestones.

By evening, SWAT team members with machine-guns patrolled hospitals and stood outside hotels that were on lockdown. Most bars had closed early on a night when they're typically packed with post-race revelers.

"Be Safe and be (hash)BostonStrong,'' read one sign posted on the door of a darkened bar."`We urge everyone to please stay safe,'' said the sign posted at another.

At The Hill Tavern, across the street from Massachusetts General, people hunched over their beers and stared in shock at the television screens broadcasting news of the explosions. The mood was sombre.

"You don't ever think something like this would happen so close to home, especially in Boston,'' said 23-year-old Kaitlyn Kloeblen. ``You always think it's such a small, safe city.''

Kloeben said she was avoiding the subway system and staying close to home for the night. ``We don't want to go anywhere on the T or anything,'' she said. ``We don't really feel safe.''

The mood was equally wan in the promenades around historic Faneuil Hall and Quincy Market that would normally be thronged with post-Marathon partiers. Instead, nearly all the bars and restaurants were black, surrendering the streetscape to a few lonely hangers-on, a handful of police officers and a bronze statue of Red Auerbach, the legendary Celtics coach and general manager.

"Today is a very special day. I'm from Boston and I'm devastated,'' said Laura Gassett, who had brought friends from California, Utah and England to the Marathon before seeking solace at Durgin Park, one of just two bars open. "The terrorists are getting exactly what they wanted. They want to shut Boston down and they did. They cut us off right at the knees.''

As Gassett and her friends went in search of a cab, a chain across the entrance to Dick's Last Resort -- a bar that posts its closing time as "til I freakin' say so!!'' -- swung in the breeze and an outdoor loudspeaker broadcast the notes of "Always and Forever,'' across the emptiness that was not supposed to be.

"We were sitting in the bar and we saw bomb squads walking by with M-16s, checking trash barrels,'' said Gassett's partner, Candy Shoemaker. "It was like, 'Oh my God.'''

The disbelief seemed most obvious in the faces and the voices of runners. Many recalled how the day had started off so perfectly with cool, clear skies after last year's stifling heat.

"The runners on the course were happy,'' said Lucretia Ausse, who was running her first Boston Marathon, "and it was wild going through Wellesley. Just everybody - the spectators were off the hook.''

Ausse had just crossed the finish line when she turned around and saw smoke pouring into the sky.

The finish line is usually a joyous place in Boston: the ultimate accomplishment in a marathon that's considered among the most difficult in the world to run, owing to its steep hills and competitive qualifying times. But this time, runners surged away from the finish line, anxious to pick up phones that would allow them to reassure their families. Except that none of the calls were going through.

There was anxiety and fear in Boston Common, a historic park just beyond the finish line where runners wrapped in foil blankets usually eagerly reunite with family members.

Instead, people wandered in and out in a confused daze, searching for family and friends who were unreachable. Sirens rang through the air. Helicopters thundered overhead. Runners collapsed on the ground, crying.

"It was mayhem. It was chaotic,'' said Mike Ferrari, 24, who lives in Boston. "Everyone just started running.''

By nightfall, nearly all had departed and runner Tara Redmond, 42, hurried back to her hotel through eerily quiet streets. Tonight, after months of training to earn a Marathon medal, it felt wrong to wear hers as if there was something to celebrate. The only reason she had it on at all was that her mother had told her she deserved it. But Redmond was no longer sure.

She talked about all her fellow runners who'd joined Boston's once-a-year chase of excellence and who had been unable to claim their rightful prize. Together, with this city, they had started the day that held such promise, only to see it evaporate.

"It's such a sad day,'' Redmond said. Then, she glanced down, running her fingers over the medal -- the one depicting the Unicorn that symbolizes a city's search for rarely attainable perfection -- and her eyes filled with tears.

One marathon suspect has been captured, according to an official with knowledge of the investigation.

Another remains on the loose in Watertown after a firefight with police. Authorities have established a 20-block perimeter as they search for him.

Read more here.

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new photo suspect 2

Just hours after the FBI released the first photos of suspects in the Boston Marathon bombing, a new photo of Suspect 2 may have emerged.

David Green, 49, of Jacksonville, Fla., had just completed his first Boston Marathon, when he snapped a picture with his iPhone 4S, taken at 2:50, just after the two blasts ripped through the finish line area, killing three people and injuring more than 180 others.

The FBI has not publicly confirmed this photo as Suspect 2, but Green told the Huffington Post that an agent told him, "this is probably the best we have right now."

The man who appears to be Suspect 2 is wearing a white hat with a "3" on the side as seen in the publicly-released photos.

Read more here.

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Minutes before the bombs blew up in Boston, Jeff Bauman looked into the eyes of the man who tried to kill him.

Just before 3 p.m. on April 15, Bauman was waiting among the crowd for his girlfriend to cross the finish line at the Boston Marathon. A man wearing a cap, sunglasses and a black jacket over a hooded sweatshirt looked at Jeff, 27, and dropped a bag at his feet, his brother, Chris Bauman, said in an interview.

Read more here.

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info wars

BOSTON -- Moments after the FBI revealed images of two baseball cap-wearing men wanted for questioning about the Boston bombings, the press conference descended into a sideshow.

A journalist from a far-right wing website called Info Wars shouted out a question accusing the government of carrying out the attack that killed three, and maimed or injured 170 others.

FBI Special Agent in Charge Richard Deslauriers ignored the allegation of a government conspiracy from reporter Daniel Bidondi, but the Alex Jones protege did not stop hollering.

"The FBI lies," Bidondi said. "We've got the proof," he said accusing the government of a "false flag" attack in which it staged the blasts and made them appear like the work of terrorists.

Bidondi found himself at the center of an media scrum with cameras and microphones pointed at his face after law enforcement officials left the podium in the Sheraton hotel.

Another reporter ridiculed Bidondi from across the room, telling him to shut up and calling him an asshole.

The excitement quickly dissipated as reporters returned to delivering the news about the official images of the suspects.

Bidondi has been a presence at other press conferences this week related to the bombing investigation.

--Michael McLaughlin / HuffPost Crime

CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story misspelled Bidondi's last name. We regret the error.

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Dr. Ralph Gross, a facial recognition expert at Carnegie Mellon University, said the FBI photos of two suspects in the Boston Marathon bombing are likely too grainy to be matched against a driver's license database or Facebook. But he thinks they may be just good enough for someone who knows the individuals to identify them.

"The resolution isn't particularly good. The one that's kind of best is unfortunately a side view -- and in general the face recognition software works best with frontal view," he said.

Research has consistently found, however, that people can spot people they know even in grainy, off-center photographs.

"Humans are actually very good at recognizing people that they are familiar with," Gross said. "Somebody that might know these guys, or might know the way they dress, might certainly be able to recognize them."

The FBI said the men should be considered armed and dangerous, and urged tipsters to call 1-800-CALL-FBI if they believe they have information that could lead to an arrest.

--Matt Sledge

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The New York Daily News reportedly doctored its front page photograph of the Boston bombings (see update below).

WARNING: LINK GOES TO GRAPHIC PHOTO

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suspects

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CNN reports that, because of a flood of traffic, the FBI's site is temporarily down.

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FBI's Richard Richard DesLauriers said the only official photos that should be relied upon in the investigation are the pictures the FBI unveiled.

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Richard DesLauriers "somebody out there knows these individuals". They are considered armed and extremely dangerous.

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The FBI's Richard Richard DesLauriers unveils photos of two suspects.

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The press conference is scheduled for 5 p.m. Watch it here.

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From The Huffington Post's Michael McLaughlin ...

Christine Anastos and her therapy dog Windy comforted runners who dropped in to the Boston Athletic Association's offices today.

Windy, a black labrador who retired from Guiding Eyes for the Blind, was a big hit with the Marathoners.

"I don't think there was a moment when someone wasn't petting her," she said about Windy,who was joined by a Newfoundland and boxer. "All she has to do is be herself. She's so sensitive. She takes in all the emotion."

Anastos makes Windy available through Therapy Dogs International There are more than 100 therapy dogs available within a 20 mile radius of Boston, she said, so people should contact the group if they're interested.

boston dog christine anastos and windy

Christine Anastos and Windy

boston dog windy

WIndy

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The New York Post once again found itself in trouble after it published front-page photos of two men on Thursday who it said were being searched for in connection with the Boston bombings. The problem? They were completely innocent.

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The FBI press conference scheduled for 5 p.m. today is the first public briefing in two days, according to Fox News.

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boston

BOSTON, MA - APRIL 18: Boston Mayor Thomas Menino pauses after speaking at an interfaith prayer service for victims of the Boston Marathon attack titled 'Healing Our City,' at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross on April 18, 2013 in Boston, Massachusetts. Authorities investigating the attack on the Boston Marathon have shifted their focus to locating the person who placed a black bag down and walked away just before the bombs went off. The twin bombings at the 116-year-old Boston race, which occurred near the marathon finish line, resulted in the deaths of three people and more than 170 others injured. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

boston

US President Barack Obama speaks during the 'Healing Our City: An Interfaith Service' dedicated to those who were gravely wounded or killed in the Boston Marathon bombing, at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross in Boston, Massachusetts, on April 18, 2013. Obama is in Boston to mourn victims of the deadly marathon attacks, as investigators study images of a suspect who may have planted the bombs. No arrests have been made in connection with Monday's twin bombings near the finish line of the race, which sent metal fragments and nails into a crowd of thousands of runners and spectators, killing three people and wounding 180. AFP PHOTO/Jewel Samad

boston

BOSTON, MA - APRIL 18: Former Massachusetts Governor and 2012 Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney attends an interfaith prayer service for victims of the Boston Marathon attack titled 'Healing Our City,' where President Barack Obama spoke at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross on April 18, 2013 in Boston, Massachusetts. Authorities investigating the attack on the Boston Marathon have shifted their focus to locating the person who placed a black bag down and walked away just before the bombs went off. The twin bombings at the 116-year-old Boston race, which occurred near the marathon finish line, resulted in the deaths of three people and more than 170 others injured. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

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A local paper in Minnesota ran an unfortunately placed ad for a pressure cooker -- right next to a story about the Boston Marathon bombing, which was likely carried out using pressure cookers packed with shrapnel and explosives.

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From the AP:

BOSTON -- Kenneth Feinberg, an attorney who managed the 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund, will design and administrator of a new fund to help people affected by the Boston Marathon bombing.

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Boston Marathon Fund raises more than million in 24 hours.

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From The Huffington Post's Michael McLaughlin ...

BOSTON -- The sight of bright blue and yellow windbreakers and t-shirts have become an instant symbol of Boston's healing and unity since Monday's double bombing.

The flashy colors are worn mainly as the official gear of the marathon. Blue is for the 23,000 runners and yellow is for the thousands of volunteers. Adidas also produces versions of the merchandise that's available to the paying public.

"This is my sport. This is my city," said Kim Stemple, a race volunteer wearing a lemon yellow jacket available on Thursday

"We know each other. We're each other's best therapy," she said about other volunteers.

Griffin Schroeder donned the blue runners' jacket as he stood near a memorial on Boylston Street before heading back to Wisconsin.

"It's out of respect," the 27-year-old said, adding that it's a symbol of completely the grueling event. "It's a very important accomplishment."

The windbreaker is an open invitation to talk with other marathoners. "I might ask someone if they finished the race. Or if I see someone we give a nod to each other."

Volunteer Susan Furgal of Brockton, Mass wept Thursday as she wore hers near the bomb site.

"I had to make myself come back," she told HuffPost.

Others find simple comfort in displaying that they were a part of the marathon.

"I just feel good wearing it," said Lene Henricksen, 51, from Denmark who was interrupted by the attack before finishing the 26.2 mile course. "This should never happen again. The marathon should go on."

boston marathon

Griffin Schoder wears the blue runner's jacket "out of respect" for the attack, but also because he's proud to have completed the testing race.

boston marathon runners pat cohen and kim stemple

Race volunteers Pat Cohen and Kim Semple embrace near the makeshift memorial of flowers and candles on Boylston Street

boston marathon runners lene henricksen

The race was called off before Henricksen, of Denmark, got to the finish line. She had the misfortune of traveling to New York for last fall's marathon that was canceled due to Hurricane Sandy.

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From The Huffington Post's Christina Wilkie: Relatives of bomb victims who remained in the Intensive Care Unit of Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston on Thursday were unable to watch President Obama's tribute to those killed and injured in the blast, but they were nonetheless very keen to know what the president said. One family member of a renect amputee sent a text to HuffPost during the speech that said, "ICU has no TV's! How is it?" By all accounts, it was a very good speech.

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"This time next year on the third Monday in April the world will return to this city to run even harder."

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Explosion at Boston Marathon Finish: UPDATES

Two explosions at Boston marathon finish line