WATERTOWN — One suspect in Monday’s Boston Marathon bombings has been apprehended, according to an official with knowledge of the investigation. Another appears to remain on the loose in Watertown after a firefight with police. A 20-block perimeter was established as authorities searched for him.
A scene of chaos descended on Cambridge and Watertown late Thursday night and early Friday morning, as police confirmed an MIT police officer was shot and killed, and an apparent carjacking led police on a frenetic chase into Watertown. Hundreds of police officer flooded Cambridge and Watertown.
A spokesman for the MBTA said that a transit officer had been shot and was in serious condition.
Witnesses in Watertown said they heard explosions. Police officers were screaming about improvised explosive devices.
Massachusetts State Police spokesman David Procopio said early Friday that the violent events at MIT and Watertown appeared to be connected, and that federal authorities were investigating whether the violence of Thursday night and Friday was connected to the marathon bombings.
At least one of the suspects in Watertown appeared to be a man in his 20s.
FBI agents were on the scene.
“We are aware of the situation, we are being involved, and we are monitoring,” said an FBI representative who requested anonymity because of not being authorized to speak publicly. The FBI source said early Friday it is “too early to speculate” on a relation to the Marathon bombing.
Dozens of police officers descended on Watertown Square after midnight.
“This is still extremely dangerous,” an FBI agent said. The Cambridge bomb squad arrived in Watertown shortly after 1:30 a.m.
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.”
He said more than three dozen emergency vehicles with sirens blaring were heading down Route 16 West. He went to the end of his street, where some neighbors were gathering. The air, he said, smelled like “at the end of a fireworks show, like a wick smell.”
“I had a bad feeling because of what happened on Monday,” he said.
John Antonucci’s 79-year-old mother called him hysterical from her home in Laurel Street. She heard about five gunshots and didn’t know what to do.
“She was saying they’re running down the street shooting,” Antonucci said, standing outside yellow police tape. “She was crying so hard I couldn’t understand what she was talking about.”
So he told her: Stay inside the house.
Residents describe the neighborhood as safe and family oriented, where they leave doors and windows open, and feed stray cats.
Standing at Quimby Street and Nichols Avenue as police officers hastily strung up caution tape, Lindsay Gaylord, 25, and Collin Ausfeld, 26, peered over the scene to get a glimpse of their apartment about a block away on Dartmouth Street.
“I was buying ice cream right there”—Gaylord pointed to a structure a few steps away, behind the caution tape—“just this afternoon.”
Ausfeld stared at the crime scene in front of him, trying to make sense of what he was seeing. As an afterthought, he muttered, “I hope the apartment doesn’t blow up.”
The couple said they moved to the neighborhood in January, leaving behind their Belmont place, because Watertown was closer to the city, and their block was quiet, safe, and friendly.
“After this, I still feel safe on this street,” Gaylord said. “I mean, you just never know with these things.”
Adam Healy, 31, said he stepped outside for a cigarette near one of the shooting scenes in Watertown, when he heard gunfire.
“I just heard tons of gunshots,” he said. “Gunshot, gunshot, gunshot, gunshot. Then I saw an explosion and saw a burst of light in the sky.”
Imran Saif, a cab driver, was parking his car for the night near Dexter and School streets and was preparing to bike home to Cambridge when he heard a series of loud noises that he said “sounded like fireworks.” He said he biked toward the sounds, thinking they were fireworks, when people in nearby houses began waving him back, telling him it was gunfire.
“It just sounded like there was automatic weapons going off, and I heard a few explosions,” he said. “They sounded like fireworks, mostly, big fireworks going off—tons, I’d say. I’m really scared. When I found out it was gunshots, that just knocked the wind out of me.” Continued...