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After Boston Marathon attack, investigators probe for clues

The remains of a pressure cooker that investigators

The remains of a pressure cooker that investigators say was part of one of the bombs that exploded during the Boston Marathon is shown in this image provided by the FBI. (April 16, 2013) Credit: AP

          An Editor’s Note published July 12, 2017, about Kevin Deutsch’s reporting appears at the end of this story. 

BOSTON -- The two bombs that exploded at the Boston Marathon finish line with force that left debris on rooftops, killed three and injured more than 170, were fashioned from pressure cookers packed with nails, scraps of metal and ball bearings, and hidden inside two duffel bags, authorities said.

As President Barack Obama called the bombings an "act of terrorism," more than 1,000 law enforcement officers worked the case, sifting through nearly 2,000 tips by Tuesday afternoon. Officials speaking at late afternoon news conferences indicated that they don't know who set off the bombs or why.

With no suspects, and no group or individual claiming responsibility, authorities in this deeply wounded city pleaded with the public for more information. "At this time, there is no claim of responsibility," said Richard DesLauriers, FBI special agent in charge of the Boston office. "The range of suspects and motives remains wide open. . . . Someone knows who did this," he said.

Meanwhile Tuesday, the FBI, Boston police, federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives agents, and state police recovered forensic evidence at the two blast sites. Those items were sent to the FBI lab in Quantico, Va., to be reconstructed.

Special agent Steven Bartholomew, a spokesman for the ATF, said Tuesday afternoon the blasts were large and high.

"Some debris were on top of rooftops, embedded in buildings," he said.

Investigators also found a circuit board believed to have been used as a detonator and black explosive powder, according to a federal law enforcement official who asked not to be named.

"Among items partially recovered are pieces of black nylon, which could be from a backpack; what appears to be fragments of BBs and nails, possibly contained in a pressure-cooker device," said DesLauriers. " . . .The bag would've been heavy because of the components believed to be in it."

Doctors from Massachusetts General Hospital, where 34 patients were admitted, said pellets and nails were removed from victims and that four had to undergo amputations. Doctors at Brigham and Women's Hospital said 31 patients were rushed there and 19 remain; 10 are in critical condition, including a 5-year-old. Another three are classified as "serious" and six are considered "fair."

Some patients had metal embedded under their skin, while others suffered fractures and destroyed muscles, requiring reconstructive surgery, doctors said.

Tuesday afternoon, the third person to die in the Boston Marathon bombings was identified as a graduate student at Boston University who had been watching the race with two friends near the finish line. "The student's name has not been released, pending permission to do so from the family," the university said on its website. The Shenyang Evening News, a state-run Chinese newspaper, identified the third victim as Lu Lingzi, but a Chinese consulate spokesman told Bloomberg News a student with this name was missing.

Martin Richard, an 8-year-old boy from Dorchester with a toothy grin, and Krystle Campbell, 29, of Medford, Mass., were also killed. Martin's mother and sister were seriously hurt.

It was announced late Tuesday that Obama will attend an interfaith memorial service for the victims Thursday.

A preliminary analysis of the physical evidence collected at the two bomb sites shows they're similar to ones used by insurgents in Iraq and Afghanistan, said a federal law enforcement source with knowledge of the investigation.

"The shrapnel, the simplicity of it, it's something right out of the Iraq War . . . a basic roadside bomb," the source told Newsday.

Al-Qaida has published instructions on how to make such a device using a pressure cooker in its propaganda magazines, officials said. The FBI and Department of Homeland Security in 2010 issued warnings about the practice.

The bombings are the most significant terror attack -- or attempt -- since Pakistani immigrant Faisal Shahzad parked an explosives-heavy sport utility vehicle in Times Square on May 1, 2010. Alert street vendors spotted smoke spewing from his vehicle and police disabled the bomb -- which was also inside a pressure cooker. He was sentenced to life in prison.

The shock of the marathon bombings and the horrific human toll resonated deeply across Boston, a city whose mayor regards it as a big family rather than a metropolis. John Hess Jr., of Boston, said his sister, Kara, lost part of her leg in the blast.

"The metal just sliced through her," said Hess, who was watching the race. "I'm in shock. You don't think this will happen at home."

Police Tuesday scoured the 12-block crime scene surrounding the blast sites and are examining surveillance and other video shot in the area. Members of the state National Guard, their guns slung over their shoulders, were stationed outside hotels late Tuesday as Bostonians, shaken but undeterred, milled about.

FBI and DHS agents conducted an early morning raid of the Water's Edge apartment complex in the Revere neighborhood, questioning a Saudi national overnight at a hospital, sources told Newsday. The man -- here on a student visa -- had burns on his hands and was tackled by authorities shortly after the bombings as he ran from the scene. By late afternoon, officials said there was no "person of interest" in the case.

The youngest known fatality, Martin Richard, 8, loved soccer and baseball. The word "Peace" was painted on his family's driveway; flowers and candles adorned the stairs.

"He was such a sweet little boy," said tearful neighbor Rhonda Marques. "This has devastated not just their family, but the entire city. He was just too young."

Massachusetts congressman Stephen Lynch said he has known Martin's parents for nearly 25 years -- they worked on his first campaign and the boy's mother once worked with Lynch's wife at a local nursing home.

"They heard the first blast," Lynch said. "It was very close and it shocked them. They were in the process of trying to actually get out into the street, away from the buildings, but the barrier . . . that was to keep them out of the street was a problem. And, that was when the second bomb went off."

The FBI interviewed the four surviving family members Monday, Lynch said. He said the daughter is "grievously wounded" and that family members are "trying to circle the wagons" around her.

Krystle Campbell's father, William Campbell Jr., 56, said in a phone interview that his daughter, a manager at Boston's Jimmy's Steer House, was watching the marathon with a female friend.

He said doctors initially confused the two women and told him and his wife that they were operating on his daughter at Massachusetts General. But when they took him to see her, he said, "That's not my daughter."

Shortly after, a detective showed up with a photo of Krystle, saying she had died. "She was incredible," the heartbroken dad said. "She was there for everyone, no matter what."

On CNN, Rep. Peter King (R-Seaford) said, "If one thing positive can come out of this horrible event, it should be to alert people that the war against terrorism isn't over."

Editor’s note: Newsday undertook an extensive, four-month review of reporting by Kevin Deutsch, who covered law enforcement from April 2012 to September 2016.

The review of the former Newsday reporter’s work began after The Baltimore Sun this year reported that law enforcement and other officials questioned the veracity of Deutsch’s nonfiction book “Pill City” about Baltimore’s drug trade. In addition, questions arose about individuals named in Newsday stories by Deutsch. Book publisher St. Martin’s Press and Deutsch have said they stand behind the book.

We are dedicated to accurate, factual reporting, to the highest journalistic standards and to maintaining our credibility with Newsday readers. We also are committed to being accountable to our readers. Newsday undertook the detailed review in that spirit and because of the concerns that were raised.

In late February, as our review was under way, The New York Times reported in an editor’s note that The Times “had been unable to locate or confirm the existence of two people who were named and quoted” in a Dec. 29, 2016, freelance article written by Deutsch. Deutsch “maintains that the interviews and the descriptions are accurate,” The Times wrote.

Newsday reviewed 600 stories with reporting by Deutsch. We contacted officials in the police departments regularly involved in Deutsch’s coverage. They said they had not had problems with his work. We then focused our research and reporting on individuals who, as described in the stories, would not be considered officials, or well-known, public figures.

The review found 77 stories with 109 individuals from Deutsch’s reporting whom Newsday could not locate. The main points of the stories were not affected. While two stories about the Orlando nightclub shooter Omar Mateen were based on sources Newsday could not locate, other media reported the main points of those stories but with attribution from different sources.  In this story, Newsday could not locate: Rhonda Marques. Newsday is attaching an editor’s note to each story online that contains individuals we cannot locate.

Here’s how Newsday conducted the review:

Researchers and reporters searched local and national public records, sites providing nationwide people searches, databases of business, real estate and conviction records, social media sites including Facebook, LinkedIn and and nationwide news archives. They searched potential alternate spellings and other name variations. Their reporting followed potential leads they found through research, within stories and in information shared by Deutsch during the review.

Finding people after publication, in some cases years later, can be difficult because of changes in residence, circumstance and contact information. Some may not have given their real names.

On the law enforcement beat, reporters may encounter people who lead lives that are not reflected in public records or other sources of information that would help locate them. It is possible that some on our list were difficult to find or reluctant to respond to our review because they are undocumented immigrants, those battling or recovering from addiction or people involved in or around illegal activity.

Some on our list were described discussing crimes in their neighborhoods, and others as relatives, friends or neighbors of victims or as individuals living near or knowing those accused of crimes.

Others we have not been able to locate, though, are described as bystanders, neighbors, spectators, relatives of drug victims, witnesses to news events or related in some way to people in the news. Still others are described in stories as people actively engaged in public issues, such as activists, protesters and marchers. Many individuals on the list are described as local.

Deutsch said in email exchanges with Newsday that “I have no doubt about the veracity of the claims of the sources I quoted.” He also said, “Not a single public official, source, or other interviewee has raised any issues with even one of these stories.”

“It's impossible for any reporter to know whether the name given to him by interviewees on the street--or those reached briefly by phone or email-- is that person's full and legal name, rather than an alias or variation of their real name (maiden names and certain common nicknames/abbreviations for first names are often published by newspapers, including Newsday.). But every one of the names on Newsday’s list was the name given to me by that interview subject, verbatim.”

During the four months of our review, Newsday shared questions and updates with Deutsch as we progressed in the search for individuals we could not locate. We requested notes and contact information. Deutsch sent us notes he said represented all individuals we were unable to locate and responded over the course of the review by email, sharing information he said was from his recollection and notes.

Reporters followed up on all information shared by Deutsch. He did not provide contact information for those on our list. Newsday reporters and editors sought unsuccessfully several times to meet with Deutsch to discuss his reporting and to review his notes together to ensure we were not missing contact information or other details that might help locate individuals. Deutsch maintained that the notes he shared “serve as evidence of interviews” with each source.

Deutsch said he kept contact information in a Rolodex he left behind at Newsday’s main office and in a company-issued cellphone he returned within a week after resigning on Sept. 6, 2016. Editorial staff did not find a Rolodex or other notes at our office, but found notes left at Newsday’s desk at a courthouse pressroom where he worked. We shared them with Deutsch and he confirmed they were his. As per company policy, the contents of the cellphone had been deleted immediately after Deutsch returned it to Newsday.

Maintaining the trust of our readers is essential to our mission.  If we are able subsequently to locate any individuals, we will update our stories.

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