FBI issues photos of 2 suspects in bombing
April 19, 2013 at 3:03 a.m.
Updated April 18, 2013 at 11:19 p.m.
BOSTON (AP) - The FBI released photos and video Thursday of two suspects in the Boston Marathon bombing and asked for the public's help in identifying them, zeroing in on the two men on surveillance-camera footage less than three days after the deadly attack.
The photos depict one man in a dark baseball cap and the other in a white cap worn backward. The men were seen walking one behind the other in the crowd, and the one in the white hat was seen setting down a backpack at the site of the second explosion, said Richard DesLauriers, FBI agent in charge in Boston.
"Somebody out there knows these individuals as friends, neighbors, co-workers or family members of the suspects. Though it may be difficult, the nation is counting on those with information to come forward and provide it to us," DesLauriers said.
The images were released hours after President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama attended an interfaith service in Boston to remember the three people killed and more than 180 wounded in the twin blasts Monday.
The two men - dubbed Suspect 1 (in the dark hat) and Suspect 2 (in the white hat) - are considered armed and extremely dangerous, DesLauriers said, and people who see them should not approach them.
The break in the investigation came just days after the attack that tore off limbs, shattered windows and raised the specter of another terrorist attack on U.S. soil. FBI photo-analysis specialists have been analyzing a mountain of surveillance footage and amateur pictures and video for clues to who carried out the attack and why.
Generally, law enforcement agencies release photos of suspects only as a last resort when they need the public's help in identifying or capturing someone.
Releasing photos can be a mixed bag: It can tip off a suspect and deny police the element of surprise. It can also trigger an avalanche of tips, forcing police to waste valuable time.
Within moments of the announcement, the FBI website crashed, perhaps because of a crush of visitors.
In the images, both men appear to be wearing dark jackets. Suspect 1 appears to be wearing a backpack. The planting of the backpack is not depicted in the video footage that was made public.
The FBI made no mention of the men's height, weight or age range and would not discuss the men's ethnicity.
Teen stunned at portrayal as Mass. bombing suspect
REVERE, Mass. (AP) — A teenager said he is scared to go outside after he was portrayed on the Internet and on the front page of the New York Post as connected to the deadly Boston Marathon bombings.
Photos of Salah Eddin Barhoum, 17, and friend Yassine Zaime were posted on websites whose users have been scouring marathon finish line photos for suspects. The two were also on the Post’s front Thursday with the headline: “Bag men: Feds seek these two pictured at Boston Marathon.”
The Post reported later Thursday that the pair weren’t considered suspects, and the FBI has since identified two other men as suspects in Monday’s bombings, which killed three people and injured more than 180.
But Barhoum, a track runner at Revere High School, said he is convinced some will blame him for the bombings, no matter what.
He said he was so fearful on Thursday that he ran back to the high school after a track meet when he saw a man in a car staring at him, talking into a phone. He said he won’t feel safe until the bombers are caught.
“I’m going to be scared going to school,” Barhoum said. “Workwise, my family, everything is going to be scary.”
Attempts to reach Zaime were not immediately successful.
Barhoum’s father, El Houssein Barhoum, who moved his family from Morocco five years ago, said he is worried his son will be shot and fears for his wife and two young daughters. He said he can’t go to his job as a baker in Boston.
“Right now, we are not secure,” he said. “So, the news (media), when they put something, they should be sure about the information.”
In a statement, New York Post editor Col Allan said, “We stand by our story. The image was emailed to law enforcement agencies yesterday afternoon seeking information about these men, as our story reported. We did not identify them as suspects.”
The photos show Barhoum with a black Nike athletic bag, wearing a blue and black track suit. Zaime is carrying a black backpack, wearing a white cap and black track clothes.
Men with bags at the marathon have been a focus of Internet scrutiny, because officials believe that’s how the bombers carried in the explosives.
Barhoum said there are only two reasons he’s been labeled a suspect: his bag and his brown skin.
Barhoum said he was at the marathon with Zaime, a friend from the running club, hoping to run a portion of it behind the official field. They took the subway, and Barhoum’s bag was for his running gear.
But the pair got the address wrong and ended up at the finish line instead of where they wanted to start the race. Barhoum said they decided to stick around to see the top runners, then left.
Barhoum said that late Wednesday, friends started flagging the online photos and commenters started their work. He said he was so upset, he visited police early Thursday to clear his name. He said they advised him to restrict access to his Facebook account.
When the Post published the photo later Thursday, a bad situation got worse, Barhoum said.
“It hurts because the person who did it must be happy right now, looking at the people who are getting blamed,” he said. “And I’m one of them.”