BOSTON, (UPI) — Investigators said Tuesday the bombs that exploded at the Boston Marathon, killing at least three people, were pressure cookers packed with shrapnel.
U.S. President Barack Obama called the bombings “evil” and an “act of terrorism.”
U.S. House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Michael McCaul, R-Texas, told The New York Times investigators said the devices were similar to those used against U.S. troops in Afghanistan and Iraq. The Times quoted a law enforcement official as saying the bombs likely were pressure cookers packed with black powder, nails and ball bearings, and likely were detonated by ordinary kitchen-type timers.
A federal law enforcement official told CNN both bombs were small, and initial tests indicated they lacked high-grade explosive material.
Obama, in remarks from the White House, hailed the actions of those who aided the wounded after the explosions, which killed three people, including an 8-year-old boy and 29-year-old woman, and wounded as many as 144 near the finish line of the race Monday.
“The American people refuse to be terrorized,” said Obama, citing the actions of those who exhibited “heroism and kindness and generosity and love, exhausted runners who kept running to the nearest hospital to give blood and those who stayed to tend to the wounded, some tearing off their own clothes to make tourniquets, the first responders who ran into the chaos to save lives, the men and women who are still treating the wounded at some of the best hospitals in the world, and the medical students who hurried to help, saying, ‘When we heard, we all came in,’ the priests who opened their churches and ministered to the hurt and the fearful, and the good people of Boston who opened their homes to the victims of this attack and those shaken by it.
“So if you want to know who we are, what America is, how we respond to evil, that’s it: selflessly, compassionately, unafraid.
“This was a heinous and cowardly act. And given what we now know about what took place, the FBI is investigating it as an act of terrorism. Any time bombs are used to target innocent civilians, it is an act of terror,” Obama said.
Obama said it was unclear who planted the bombs, saying investigators have yet to determine whether it was a terrorist organization, “domestic or foreign,” or a lone “malevolent” individual was involved.
“Clearly we are at the beginning of our investigation,” he said. “It will take time to follow every lead and determine what happened, but we will find out. We will find whoever harmed our citizens, and we will bring them to justice.”
Suspicious packages found and detonated by bomb squads as a precaution after the explosions were not explosive devices, officials said.
Investigators say the only bombs were the two that exploded at the marathon. A doctor treating some of the wounded at Massachusetts General Hospital said patients had nails, or nail-like sharp objects, and “pellets” in their bodies.
In opening remarks before the House Appropriations Defense subcommittee, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said the bombings were a “cruel act of terror.”
Police locked down a 15-block area around the scene and the blast area remained closed Tuesday.
Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick said Boston “will not be business as usual” in the wake of the terror attack and police presence would be heavy.
The Boston Globe said the 8-year-old boy who was killed as been identified as Martin Richard of Dorchester, Mass. His mother and sister were injured by the explosion.
Krystle Campbell, 29, of Medford, Mass., was also killed, InsideMedford.com reported. Her father, William, said his daughter was cheering on her boyfriend at the finish line.
Seventeen of the injured were listed in critical condition at Boston-area hospitals.