One of confirmed dead is an 8 year-old boy
BOSTON — Two bombs exploded at 2:45 p.m. Eastern Time near the finish line of the world's oldest marathon, the Boston Marathon, twelve minutes apart on Monday.
The marathon which cheerfully celebrates Patriot's Day, the running of the British from Boston recognizing the first battle of the Revolutionary War, is now marred by a scene of hysteria and mass destruction.
Boston Police Commissioner Ed Davis said Monday night during a press conference the death toll had risen to three. One of the dead was an eight year-old boy, according to a state law enforcement source.
Hospitals reported at least 138 people are being treated, with at least 17 of them in critical condition and 25 in serious condition.
A source says the bombs were hidden in trash cans in spectator areas along the running path. People closest to the bombs who were injured had limbs severed.
Doctors are "pulling ball bearings out of people in the emergency room," the expert said, suggesting the bombs were designed to propel shrapnel.
"Any responsible individuals, any responsible groups, will feel the full weight of justice," President Barack Obama vowed during a press conference at the White House.
Boston "is a tough and resilient town," he said, adding that Americans will stand by Bostonians "every single step of the way."
The terrorist attack prompted screaming and chaos, shattered windows and barricades and sent a large cloud of smoke into the air.
The blasts were about 50 to 100 yards apart, officials said, on a stretch of the course lined with spectators cheering runners through the final yards of a 26-mile race.
Federal authorities are classifying the bombings as a terrorist attack, but it's not clear whether the origin was domestic or foreign.
A "darker-skinned or black male" with a possible foreign accent is being searched for in connection with the attack, according to a law enforcement BOLO. The man was seen with a black backpack and sweatshirt and was trying to get into a restricted area about five minutes before the first explosion, the lookout notice states.
Rep. Bill Keating of Massachusetts said there were two more explosive devices found in the Boston area.
A third blast at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library was believed to be related to the marathon bombings, but police later said that incident was believed to be fire-related. The library said all staff and visitors are safe.
It was unclear who may have planted the marathon bombs. There were no credible threats before the race, a state government official said.
There is no suspect in custody, but many people are being questioned, Davis said.
In addition to scrutinizing images of surveillance cameras, the FBI likely was issuing subpoenas for records from cell towers to isolate and trace calls from around the area at the time of the blasts.
As authorities searched the scene, numerous suspicious packages were found, possibly because people fled the area, leaving items behind. Investigators were checking them.
"This is a horrific day in Boston," Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick said in a statement.
"My thoughts and prayers are with those who have been injured. I have been in touch with the president, Mayor (Thomas) Menino and our public safety leaders. Our focus is on making sure that the area around Copley Square is safe and secured. I am asking everyone to stay away from Copley Square and let the first responders do their jobs."
U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder spoke with FBI Director Robert Mueller and U.S. Attorney Carmen Ortiz, a Justice Department official said.
Holder has directed the full resources of the Justice Department to be deployed to ensure the matter is fully investigated, the official said.
The Federal Aviation Administration placed a flight restriction over the site of the blasts.
New York, Washington, Los Angeles and San Francisco are among many cities who have tightened security.
A vast majority of runners had either completed the race prior to the explosions or had not yet entered the areas of the explosions, which prevented them from being severely hurt.
Runners east of Massachusetts Avenue were directed to Boston Common to escape the explosion area; those west of Massachusetts Avenue were directed to Kenmore Square, the state's emergency management agency said.
Troops from the Massachusetts National Guard, already at the site as part of the marathon's security and crowd-management plan, were assisting police as well.