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Jamaica Plain 'definitely low-key' as manhunt for Marathon bomber continues

Posted by Jeremy C. Fox  April 19, 2013 06:33 PM

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Gulsevil Salgir.jpg

Jeremy C. Fox for Boston.com

On Green Street Friday, Gulsevil Salgir walked her grandson’s dog Zeytin, a Pomeranian and Shih Tzu mix.

As legions of local, state, and federal law enforcement officers executed a door-to-door manhunt in Watertown Friday, Boston’s Jamaica Plain neighborhood, just five miles away, appeared peaceful, drowsy, and just a little bewildered.

Governor Deval Patrick had asked residents of Boston and neighboring communities to stay home behind locked doors while officials searched for a suspected Boston Marathon bomber.

It appeared that many in Jamaica Plain had complied, but others went on with everyday activities. Dog-walkers and joggers populated streets, and children played in a tot lot on the Southwest Corridor Park.

“It’s definitely low-key, but people are out,” said Mallory Hanora. “I don’t feel unsafe here, but at the same time, I can definitely appreciate the very long night that people that I know had in Watertown and in Cambridge.”

Hanora, 27, was one of many who slipped on their running shoes and spent part of the free day chuffing up and down the neighborhood’s hills. She said she learned of the manhunt when her boss called at 6:45 a.m. to say their office, in Allston, would be closed.

She spent the next three and a half hours, she said, following the developing situation through updates on WBUR and postings on social media. She was troubled, she said, by statements she saw about the alleged bombers’ identities and motives that she believed were based on interpretations of their ethnicity and their backgrounds.

“There definitely seemed to be a performative or a theatrical aspect of what was going on, and a struggle with the narrative,” she said.

Gulsevil Salgir left her Green Street condominium Friday afternoon to walk her grandson’s dog Zeytin, a Pomeranian and Shih Tzu mix whose name means “black olive” in Turkish, Salgir’s native language.

Salgir, 63, said she was “terrified” when she woke at 7 a.m. to learn of the violence and pursuit that began overnight, but she had busied herself with ordinary activities, including housekeeping and caring for Zeytin.

She found the unusually quiet day unsettling but was less anxious about her safety than others were.

“It’s totally a ghost town. It’s eerie,” Salgir said. “My younger son in Portland, Ore., says, ‘Be safe. Don’t go out. What are you doing?’”

Salgir said she was alarmed that Dzhokhor A. Tsarnaev, the bombing suspect, was still at large, and that she believed he and older brother Tamerlan Tsarnaev, killed in a shootout early Friday, had ties to an extremist group.

“It’s scary, it’s disturbing, and it’s so sad for such young people to be indoctrinated,” she said.

David Mittel, editor of the Duxbury Clipper newspaper, said the governor’s request had little effect on his plans.

“Today is the real Patriots Day, and I don’t like these … Monday holidays, and I had long since planned to take the day off,” said Mittel, 70.

Mittel was spending his day working on a restoration of his Chestnut Avenue home, built in 1841. He had spoken earlier Friday afternoon to his brother, who lives in Watertown near the Cambridge border, within the 20-block search area.

“He’s starting to get a little claustrophobic,” he said.

Like many in recent days, Mittel said he was impressed with the response of elected officials and law enforcement to Monday’s bombings.

“My take on this is that we need to give our leaders and our police some slack,” he said. “They’re dealing with this unexpected event in real time.”

Jeremy C. Fox can be reached at jeremy.fox@globe.com.
Follow him on Twitter: @jeremycfox.
Follow Jamaica Plain on Twitter: @YTJamaicaPlain.

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