Three people are dead and at least 130 more injured after two explosions near the finish line of the Boston Marathon.
The blasts occurred at 2:50 p.m. Monday, four hours into the celebrated running event.
The explosions were “50 to 100 yards apart and each scene resulted in multiple casualties,” Boston Police Commissioner Ed Davis said.
The FBI will lead federal, state and local authorities in the criminal investigation. According to media reports this morning, investigators searched an apartment in a Boston suburb overnight.
The Boston Globe is reporting eight-year-old Martin Richard is among the dead. CNN has said that eight children are among the injured.
State Governor Deval Patrick said he could not confirm numbers when he addressed the press just before 9 p.m.
In a 6 p.m. press conference, Davis said media reports of a suspect in custody were not true. “We’re questioning many people but there is no one in custody at this point in time,” he said. The police commissioner later denied reports that a suspect was in hospital.
More on the Boston Marathon bombings:
In a live address on Monday evening, U.S. President Barack Obama praised the “heroic” efforts of first responders and promised the “full resources of the federal government” would be made available to officials dealing with the fallout of mass casualties and ensuing investigation.
“The American people will say a prayer for Boston tonight,” he said.
As for what led to the explosions, “We don’t have all the answers,” Obama said, promising justice. “We will find out who did this, and we will hold them accountable,” he said.
Police were originally treating a third explosion at the JFK Library as possibly connected to the two marathon blasts. They later said the library explosion appeared to have been “fire related,” with no link yet found to the earlier incidents.
The FBI, National Guard and state police were among those who responded to the scene, in addition to Boston police forces.
At the time of the blasts a few thousand runners hadn’t yet finished the marathon, the New York Times reported.
The Associated Press reported those injured included marathon spectators, who were first taken for treatment to a tent initially set up to care for marathon runners.
Davis said no other devices had been found at the site of the marathon, contradicting some media reports. Asked if this was a terrorist attack, he told media they could make up their own minds.
He also urged people to stay home or in their hotel rooms and avoid congregating in large groups.
“We are still asking people to be calm, to go to their homes, and to work closely with us,” he said.
The FBI and Boston Police said there were no bomb threats made ahead of the event, with “no specific intelligence that anything was going to happen,” according to Davis.
The hotel being used as marathon headquarters was in lock-down by mid-afternoon, according to Reuters. The Federal Aviation Administration also declared a no-fly zone over Boston.
“There were two bombs that exploded near the finish line in today’s Boston Marathon,” marathon organizers said on their Facebook page. “We are working with law enforcement to understand what has happened.”
Images circulated of bloody, deserted streets amid reports of injuries to both competitors and spectators.
“This is a horrific day in Boston,” Gov. 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 Menino and our public safety leaders. Our focus is on making sure that the area around Copley Square is safe and secured.”
U.S. Vice President Joe Biden said his prayers were with the victims. “I don’t know how many of them there are.”
The Atlantic Wire noted that the final mile of the marathon had been dedicated to the victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper said in a statement that he was shocked by the news.
“It is truly a sad day when an event as inspiring as the Boston Marathon is clouded by such senseless violence,” he said.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with those injured or affected by this horrible incident.”
The statement from the PMO said Canadians in Boston requiring emergency assistance should contact the Consulate General at (617) 247-5100.
The Department of Foreign Affairs has set up an emergency line — 1-800-387-3124 — to offer assistance to Canadians.
Google has also created a Person Finder to help in the search for those who might be unaccounted for.
More than 2,000 Canadians were taking part in the marathon.
Boston authorities said their next briefing will take place at 9:30 ET on Tuesday morning.
With files from The Canadian Press and The Associated Press