When New York Times reporter John Eligon got out the shower on Monday afternoon, he saw a text message from a friend asking if he was okay. Eligon had just returned to his hotel after running the Boston Marathon, so the question wasn’t out of the ordinary. Eligon was a bit sore, but otherwise, felt alright.
It didn’t take long before Eligon realized his friend wasn’t just asking about his weariness after finishing a 26-mile race. Eligon saw a breaking news alert about the explosions, turned on the television and heard a voicemail from the Times instructing him to go back out and cover the explosions that killed at least three and injured 134. Eligon, a 30-year-old reporter based in Kansas City, hopped into a cab back toward the race.
“I love breaking news, so for me, all the thoughts of having just run the race and being sore left my head, and I put on my reporter’s hat and went out to cover it as a news story," Eligon told The Huffington Post on Monday night.
Eligon soon found eyewitnesses and sent notes to his office from a makeshift press center. He was one several journalists who ran in the marathon before shifting to cover the tragedy, along with The Wall Street Journal’s Colleen McCain Nelson, The Washington Post’s Vernon Loeb, the Boston Globe's Michael Rezendes, USA Today's David Leon Moore, Politico’s Jessica Meyers and the Los Angeles Times Joe Tanfani.
Rezendes had completed about 25.5 miles before the police began telling runners there had been an explosion and ordered them in the other direction. Despite having run for hours, Rezendes shifted into reporter mode and reached the Globe’s news desk by phone from a nearby bar.
“As soon as it was clear that this was a terrible event that had happened, I guess the adrenaline kicked in,” he told The Huffington Post on Monday night.
Rezendes, a member of the L Street Running Club for the past decade, eventually made his way to the club for what traditionally had been a “very festive” post-race gathering. Rezendes borrowed a pen and found some spare paper to interview one woman who saw a man's leg blown off and another woman who crossed the finish line just as the bombs exploded. Rezendes then headed back to the Globe’s newsroom to file his story.
Rezendes, an investigative reporter, said he has his “work cut out” for him on Tuesday and, likely, for some time in covering the unfolding story.
Loeb, interviewed on MSNBC, described how he finished the race about 15 or 20 minutes before the explosion.
"I heard what were unmistakably bombs," Loeb said on TV. "They were incredibly loud. It's normally a very soulful, relaxed crowd down around the Boylston Street after the marathon. It was beautiful weather. When the explosions went off, a hush went over the city. Almost instantaneously, there were just a symphony of sirens and they just got louder and louder. More and more police arrived, ambulances."
The Prudential Center, he said, quickly became "a crime scene."
Meyers, a technology reporter for Politico Pro, finished the marathon before filing a story on the aftermath. “Encased in foil and grasping medals, Boston marathoners stared at cell phones and peered at storefront TVs Monday as details emerged of two explosions near the downtown finish line,” she wrote.
In a first-person Wall Street Journal dispatch, Nelson wrote that she was just “several yards past the finish line when I heard the first startling boom.”
I kept walking but only took a couple of more steps when I heard it again: Boom!
Cheers were replaced by silence and confusion. Farther away, I could hear screams.
"Was that a bomb?" runners asked one another. Was someone shot? Someone pointed to a nearby construction site and suggested that perhaps a crane had fallen.
I was just far enough away that I couldn't see the gory scene unfolding a block away. There, injured and bloodied spectators who had cheered me on a few minutes earlier now were being rushed to medical tents originally set up for hobbled runners.
Nelson wrote that “on this marathon day, the finish line was the saddest place.”
For Eligon, the experience of Monday's marathon was clearly much different than the four he'd run previously.
“I still don’t know the name of the person who won the race," he said. "But no one’s talking about that any more."
04/19/2013 2:30 AM EDT
GLOBE: Bombing Suspect In Custody, Another Remains On The Loose
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.
04/19/2013 12:44 AM EDT
Unconfirmed Photo Of Suspect 2 In Boston Marathon Bombing Emerges On Facebook
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.
04/18/2013 10:19 PM EDT
Boston Bombing Victim in Iconic Photo Helped Identify Attackers: Bloomberg
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.
04/18/2013 9:04 PM EDT
Federal Law Enforcement Says Suspects Stayed To Watch Carnage: CNN Reports
04/18/2013 7:26 PM EDT
Right Wing Journalist Goes Ballistic During Press Conference
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.
04/18/2013 7:00 PM EDT
Is The Suspect's Hat A Clue?
04/18/2013 6:46 PM EDT
Facial Recognition Expert Reacts To FBI Photos
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.
04/18/2013 6:21 PM EDT
Daily News Doctored Photo
The New York Daily News reportedly doctored its front page photograph of the Boston bombings (see update below).
WARNING: LINK GOES TO GRAPHIC PHOTO
04/18/2013 5:37 PM EDT
Hi-Res Image Of People Of Interest
04/18/2013 5:30 PM EDT
FBI Website Down
CNN reports that, because of a flood of traffic, the FBI's site is temporarily down.