The Telegraph is citing police scanner reports of a gunbattle in Watertown, MA possibly involving automatic weapons and hand grenades. This follows on a report that a campus police officer was killed at MIT. Reports are that two men hijacked a car and the police are in pursuit. This may or may not be related to the manhunt for the Marathon Bombers.
Two police officers are down (unsure whether this includes the campus cop from MIT) and there are suspected explosive devices on the ground. Some perps are down, but one perp was still at large. The Boston Globe says "One suspect in custody, another remains on the loose".
Reported radio traffic: "UPDATE: per Radio "All units [in Watertowm] retreat. Retreat." … Units Told to get to safe perimeter." However, after listening to the scanner traffic I think the retreat was ordered out of fear of explosive devices. "Power down cellphones. Power down cell phones." The BBC says:
Witnesses in nearby Watertown report hearing explosions and gunfire amid a massive police hunt for the gunman.
Television footage from the town, some six miles (9km) from Boston, showed one man lying spread out on the ground, holding out his arms, surrounded by police.
The Boston Globe reports "chaos in Watertown, Cambridge". The manhunt started in Kendall Square. It has moved on West. John Antonucci’s 79-year-old mother called him hysterical from her home in Laurel Street. She was heard about five gun shots and didn’t know what to do. “She was saying they’re running down the street shooting.”
At Arsenal Court and Arsenal Street in Watertown, an officer bellowed: “Ya gotta get outta here. There’s an active shooter here with an active explosive. Go!”
Peter Jennings, 33, said he was sleeping just before 1 a.m. in his home on Prentiss Street in Watertown when he was awakened by a huge boom.
“It sounded like a stick of dynamite went off,” he said. “I looked out the window, and it was like nothing I’ve ever seen – blue light after blue light after blue light.”
You can listen to the scanner audio involving the cops, the staties and other law enforcement here.
Whether or not this is related to the attack on the Marathon these events will encourage a siege mentality. Though the rough edges of the world are never far our apparently safe, everyday lives the contrast between outward tranquility of Cambridge, Watertown and Belmont and high intensity violence is particularly great.
If mayhem can come there, it can come anywhere.
There is a 20 block perimeter in place. If these turn out to be the Boston Marathon perps, they will have been run down by the local cops and the Massachusetts State Police, not by the Feds. However, as of this writing, a possible second suspect is still on the loose. He can't go far, in that residential neighborhood the prospects for a hostage taking can't be discounted. But unless he's got an accomplice there's no way out of there.
The cops are chasing down reports as residents call possible sightings in. For some reason Children's Hospital is in lockdown, given this distance from Children's to Watertown this may be a separate incident, perhaps arising from a report of shots fired in the ER.
There is a report of an explosion in Cambridge. It is not known whether this is an EOD clearance blast or a new incident or just panic.
There are now unconfirmed reports of an identification of the two men. If true it will be a surprise twist worthy of a Hitchcock movie. If you think the character of the possible perps has been explosive so far, just wait until this possiblity is confirmed. Without wanting to name the suspects until they are officially named, let me say that it will create a conversation about class and identity and nihilism that will make people wonder.
I may have been exactly on the mark when I wrote on the day of the bombing:
But the Boston Marathon is of significance or of possible symbolism only to a fairly narrow group of people. It is not some kind of “international symbol of America”, nor to anyone in the actual know representative of class warfare or privilege in any way. The motives of striking at the event are interesting to consider.
The second suspect is reported dead, though that is still unconfirmed. And now there is no indication that the second suspect is in fact dead. At any rate the process of taking a backfix begins. One of the suspects is said to have walked out on his life, under the impetus of mental illness. He abandoned his wallet and yet was subsequently seen in various locations in the northeast. Where did he get the money?
How did he live clandestinely without a support infrastructure? He did not appear to have any previous experience operating underground. This story will be fascinating. And the twists and turns keep coming! NBC reports that the names first reported on the police scanner are inaccurate. It may turn out that we don't know who white hat is yet.
The second suspect has not been killed and whole surrounding area is in lockdown. The Globe reports: "State authorities also asked people who live in Watertown, Waltham, Newton, Belmont, Cambridge, and Allston-Brighton to stay home and for businesses in those cities and towns to stay closed. We are asking you to stay indoors, to stay in your homes for the time being,’’ Kurt Schwartz, who leads the state’s homeland security department, said at a 6 a.m. press conference today. “We are asking business in those areas to cooperate and not open today until we can provide further guidance.’’"
Now the Boston Globe is reporting a new twist. The suspects are indeed suspected in the bombing and they are brothers from Chechnya. This is getting real interesting. The AP reports "Surviving Boston bomb suspect identified as Dzhokhar A. Tsarnaev, 19, of Cambridge, Mass." They immigrated to to the US 2 years ago. Their social networking page is supposedly here. The brother's name is Tamerlan Tsarnaev, 26.
Meanwhile, "WASHINGTON (AP) — The White House says President Barack Obama is being briefed on developments in the investigation into the bombings at the Boston Marathon." My post, the Runaway Word looks pretty prescient now. Social Media is moving this along at warp speed.
It gets more interesting. Dzhokhar Tsarnaev received a City Scholarship from Cambridge in 2011. See the third name from the last.
If this ends today the weekend will be interesting for Janet Napolitano.