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An array of federal, state and local officials praised first responders and mourned victims of Monday’s double-bomb blast at the Boston Marathon but had little to announce regarding the identity and motive of the perpetrator.
The casualty toll, said Boston Police Commissioner Ed Davis, had risen to 176, including three fatalities and 17 victims in critical condition. He called the site “the most complex crime scene” in the history of his department and praised the National Guard and police from Chicago, Los Angeles, New York City and Baltimore for their help.
President Obama later addressed reporters at the White House, vowing "to find whoever harmed our citizens and bring them to justice. The American people refuse to be terrorized," he said, adding praise for the FBI and the Boston police, as well as the "exhausted runners who tore off their own clothing to make tourniquets" to help victims. "If you want to know who we are as Americans, this is it," he added: "selfless, passionate, unafraid."
Rick DesLauriers, the FBI special agent in charge for Boston, said his team is working with Joint Terrorism Task Force partners, including Boston police, state troopers, the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. “There are no known current threats,” DesLauriers said at the Tuesday briefing in Boston’s Westin Hotel. “We are interviewing witnesses at various locations and have received voluminous tips in the past 18 hours.” Public input, he added, “is critical for creating a timeline of events” of the tragedy.
“There has to be hundreds if not thousands of photos of the finish line, and we encourage you to bring forward anything to our tip line that might have value,” said Col. Timothy Alben, superintendent of the Massachusetts State Police. Though the FBI is the lead agency, he said, state and local police will be “a logistical presence and provide comfort for the public at transit centers.”
More than 190 agencies with a presence in Boston -- including the General Services Administration and the Federal Protective Service -- are working with the Boston-area Federal Executive Board, a nationwide network to facilitate collaboration in the federal workforce outside the Washington area.
“In this case, we've been continually in touch with regional GSA and FPS leaders,” the group’s Executive Director Kim Ainsworth told Government Executive later by email. “Our role has really been one of coordination and communication.” All federal sites were open on Tuesday, she said, with enhanced security at some.
Gene Marquez of the ATF said at the briefing that his agency was bringing in 30 explosives specialists, enforcement specialists, bomb technicians and canine corps.
Boston-based U.S. Attorney Carmen Ortiz said Attorney General Eric Holder and other partners are assuring that “all necessary resources” are being made available.
Political dignitaries also appeared at the press conference, thanking first-responders and praising medical personnel and volunteers associated with the Boston Marathon.
Gov. Deval Patrick reported that no unexploded devices had been found, but promised heightened police presence. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., praised President Obama’s quick response to the bombings, saying, “We did not have to reach out to the president; he reached out to us.”
Mayor Thomas Menino said the city had received calls from all over the world, and vowed that Boston will “continue to work together at this difficult time. Boston will overcome.”
Kellie Lunney contributed to this report.