The FBI released dramatic photographs and video Thursday of two suspects in the Marathon bombing, plucking the young men out of the obscurity of the festive downtown crowd and putting their faces on worldwide display as they enlisted the public’s help in identifying them.
“Somebody out there knows these individuals as friends, neighbors, co-workers, or family members,” said FBI Special Agent in Charge Richard DesLauriers. “The nation is counting on those with information to come forward.”
The dramatic unmasking of the men who allegedly turned Boston’s annual spring sports festival Monday into a bloody scene of chaos and lost limbs, came hours after President Obama delivered an uplifting salute to the city’s resiliency in an interfaith service, which honored the three killed and the scores maimed by the blasts.
The release of the photos is the FBI’s attempt to put names to the faces, in the massive manhunt for the people who planted two primitive but powerful bombs, laced with nails and ball-bearings, that exploded 12 seconds apart on Boylston Street on Monday. Investigators have some possible names for the suspects, which they are currently checking, according to two officials familiar with the investigation.
The breakthrough in the case came after FBI specialists reviewed thousands of tips, photographs, and video footage of the race course, looking for the attackers, and found an image of a young man abandoning a backpack believed to contain a bomb. Another chilling detail that investigators found incriminating, according to the two officials: A video that showed the suspect nonchalantly striding away after the blasts, as everyone fled in panic around him.
In a 30-second video clip released Thursday by the FBI, the suspects, believed to be in their early 20s, are seen strolling single-file past Marathon spectators on Boylston Street, near the intersection with Gloucester Street. They are heading toward the finish line, walking behind a woman carrying a bouquet of yellow balloons. A time stamp appears to indicate the video was captured about 12 minutes before the bombs exploded just before 2:50 p.m.
The man the FBI has dubbed Suspect 1 is dressed in a black cap with a white Bridgestone golf logo, tan pants, and a hooded black jacket. He is shown wearing a black backpack, believed to have held the first bomb to detonate, just steps away from the finish line of the 26.2-mile race.
Suspect 2 is wearing a white baseball cap backward, dark pants, and a similar black jacket. He carries a backpack slung over one shoulder. In one photo, he appears to be smiling as he holds a cellphone to one ear. The FBI has discovered video, which it did not release, of Suspect 2 leaving his backpack on the ground at the site of the second explosion, in front of the Forum restaurant, DesLauriers said. After he dropped the pack, the man walked west on Boylston.
The bombs exploded minutes later.
DesLauriers said the FBI initially focused on one of the suspected bombers, whom they had picked out of images of the race. “Not knowing if the individual was acting alone or in concert with others, we obviously worked with extreme purpose to make that determination,” said DesLauriers. Through that effort, investigators discovered the other suspect.
The release of the photos followed nearly two days of silence from the FBI, during which specialists were intensely scrutinizing the images behind the scenes.
“We will continue to work on developing additional images to improve their identification value,” he said.
The FBI considers the men to be “armed and extremely dangerous” and warned the public not to try to capture the men. “If you see them, call law enforcement,” DesLauriers urged.
The FBI has set up a tip line, at 800-225-5324 and can take tips on its website: bostonmarathontips.fbi.gov. The FBI said it recorded record-breaking traffic on its website after releasing the images.
As they released these images, the FBI urged the public not to give weight to other photos circulating on the Internet or in the media. “The only photos that should be officially relied upon should be those you see before you today,” DesLauriers said.
Law enforcement officials discounted photos from the New York Post that identified two people, including a local 17-year-old, as possible suspects. They also say that the Saudi Arabian man from Revere who was injured in the blast and later questioned is not a person of interest.
The Patriots Day bombing killed 8-year-old Martin Richard, of Dorchester; 29-year-old Krystle Campbell, a Medford native; and Lingzi Lu, a Boston University graduate student from China.Continued...