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Boston Marathon bombing

One of the first explosion photos from the scene, credit Dan Lampariello.

One of the first explosion photos from the scene, credit Dan Lampariello.

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Lingzi Lu (Courtesy ABC News / Darson Li)

BEIJING (CNN) — Like thousands of others, the graduate student from China crowded with friends around the finish line at the Boston Marathon to cheer on the runners.

She had moved to the city in time for the fall semester, making friends and soaking up new experiences.

The marathon was a chance to be a part of an annual ritual so cherished by Bostonians.

And so she went Monday to Copley Square with two friends in tow.

They were in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Two bombs went off within 12 seconds of each other near the finish line, killing three.

The graduate student was one of them.

Who she was

Boston University identified her on Wednesday as Lingzi Lu, a graduate student in mathematics and statistics.

The second student was in stable condition at Boston Medical Center and the third student was not hurt, BU Today said.

Her photos on Facebook show her enjoying a simple student life of home-cooked meals in modest surrounding, smiles over warm cups of coffee, laughs with friends.

The day she died, she posted a picture of her breakfast to the Chinese social media website Weibo — bread and a bowl of fruit.

“My wonderful breakfast,” she commented in English with a smiley face emoticon.

Then an explosion

After the two bombs ended the road race, Lu’s roommate posted a message on Facebook.

“God bless the Boston community,” wrote Li Jing, also from China.

The blasts wounded 183 others.

Li learned of that injury — but didn’t yet know her friend had died.

“I have been unable to reach her,” she wrote on her Facebook page. “Everyone is very worried. I have reported this to BU Police. If anyone knows anything, please let me know. Thanks for everyone’s help.”

Friends offered suggestions on how to find her.

“Li Jing, I am so sad for your roommate…I will pray for her and pray for your soul,” one posted on Facebook.

Death confirmed

Boston University’s president announced the graduate student’s death in an open letter published Tuesday on the school’s website and confirmed that her friend was wounded.

“Our hearts and thoughts go out to the family and friends of both victims,” wrote college President Robert Brown.

At first, the university declined to release Lu’s name at her family’s request, but the school later received permission from a family representative, BU spokesman Colin Riley said.

The Chinese consulate in New York issued a statement of condolence.

In China, news of the death set off a wave of sympathy on social media sites.

By Wednesday, netizens there had added more than 17,000 comments to the victim’s last Weibo post about her breakfast.

“Wish there’s no pain in heaven! May the girl rest in peace!” WenyiqingnianHarryChen posted.

Tuesday evening, two university chaplains held a campus vigil for her and the other victims. It was followed by a town hall-style meeting for those in search of comfort and counseling.

The graduate student died alongside Krystle Campbell, 29, and Martin Richard, 8.

Her friend, Zhou Danling, is on her way to recovery at a Boston hospital.

A love of math and chance

Lu had worked hard to achieve. She won an academic scholarship to the Beijing Institute of Technology, where she received accolades for her math skills.

She went on to Boston University to pursue that passion and was working on a master’s degree in statistics.

She would have known how slim the chances were that something like this could happen in a crowd of thousands cheering the runners on a sunny day.

CNN’s Steven Jiang reported from Beijing; CNN’s Ben Brumfield reported and wrote from Atlanta.

(CNN) — There is conflicting information as to whether someone has been arrested in connection with the Boston Marathon bombings. A federal law enforcement source told CNN’s Fran Townsend that someone was arrested. But two senior administration officials and another federal official then told Townsend that there had been a misunderstanding among officials and that no one has been arrested.

breaking-news-400×225(CNN) — An arrest has been made in the Boston bombings investigation based on two videos showing images of the suspect, a federal law enforcement source told CNN’s Fran Townsend. A Boston law enforcement source also told CNN’s John King an arrest has been made.

(CNN) — Investigators believe they have identified a suspect in the Boston Marathon bombings, a source who has been briefed on the investigation told CNN’s John King.

The possible breakthrough came from an analysis of video from a Lord and Taylor department store near the site of the second blast, and video from a Boston TV station helped as well, the official said.

Authorities have a clear image of someone placing the kind of package authorities are looking for, including clear identification of the possible suspect’s face, the source told King.

NEW ORLEANS (WGNO) – While law enforcement agencies in the New Orleans area take a good look at security in the wake of the Boston Marathon bombing, one NOLA security expert has a safety tip he says everyone should follow.  And Brannon Lebouef says the response in Boston moments after the blasts helps underscore his point.

“A lot of great people stood up with little or no training and did what they could,  and that possibly saved lives,” Lebouef says.

Lebouef owns a security firm called NOLATAC, and he is in the process of re-opening the St Bernard Indoor Range in Chalmette.  He’s a firearms instructor and teaches conceal carry classes.  But post-Boston, Lebouef is telling people to make a point of carrying another kind of personal safety gear.

“You’re going to find yourself needing medical equipment many, many, many more times in life than you will ever find yourself needing defense equipment,” he said from his business’s office.

Lebouef says everyone should carry what’s known as an Every Day Carry Kit, or EDC.  It’s a small, emergency medical kit that includes a tourniquet, gause, and other medical equipment for stopping serious blood loss.

“Even places that I legally can’t carry a firearm, I always have this.”

A quick web search showed small EDC kits selling for about $60 or less.

“This is awesome to put in your door panel, in that little pocket, instead of collecting straws and napkins,” Lebouef said.

NEW ORLEANS (WGNO) – We know words won’t erase, can’t describe, aren’t enough, but here are some words of comfort from New Orleans to Boston.

“We’re praying for you, we understand what this tragic must feel like for you, we also understand the people of Boston are like the people of New Orleans, you have a very resilient spirit and you will bounce back from this.”

“I’m Emma from the Good Golly’s, we heard about what happened in Boston, we’re really sorry about that. We want to send some love from New Orleans.”

“It’s an amazing race, I’m just so sorry that yesterday had to turn out the way that it did but you’re definitely in my thoughts and prayers, I love y’all.”

“When we heard about the news down here we felt really bad, we had the same thing happen with Katrina a few years ago so hopefully, everybody will reach out to you like they did with us, we hope everything works out well.”

“It makes you realize the strength of the community when something like this happens. My name is Pam Fields from Fleurty Girl in the French Quarter, we’d like to tell everyone in Boston our thoughts and prayers are with you during this difficult time.”

“Just know that people on the other side of the world really love you guys and we’re praying for y’all and we wish you guys the best.”

Martin Richard killed in Boston bombing

Martin Richard killed in Boston bombing

(CNN) — Almost a year ago, 8-year-old Martin Richard wrote four simple words on a sign at school.

“No more hurting people,” it said.

For the camera, he held up the bright blue sign decorated with hearts framing the word “Peace.”

It’s a photograph that many find difficult to look at Tuesday as they struggle to comprehend the violence that took Martin’s life. On Monday, the boy and his family were watching the Boston Marathon near the finish line when two bombs exploded just off Copley Square in the heart of the city.

The grade-schooler was killed, authorities said.

Martin’s mother, Denise, and his sister were grievously injured, The Boston Globe reported.

Denise Richard underwent surgery for an injury to her brain, and Martin’s 6-year-old sister lost her leg, CNN affiliate WHDH reported. As of 1 p.m. ET Tuesday, both were still hospitalized, according to WHDH.

The boy’s father, William Richard, is a community leader in the Ashmont section of Dorchester, according to the Globe.

“My dear son Martin has died from injuries sustained in the attack on Boston,” Richard said in a statement Tuesday. “My wife and daughter are both recovering from serious injuries. We thank our family and friends, those we know and those we have never met, for their thoughts and prayers. I ask that you continue to pray for my family as we remember Martin. We also ask for your patience and for privacy as we work to simultaneously grieve and recover. Thank you.”

Earlier, CNN affiliate WHDH reported that the father was among the runners, but other reports Tuesday afternoon indicated that William Richard had not participated in the race.

Tuesday morning, people arrived at the Richards’ home in the working-class neighborhood dotted with large New England-style homes. On the stone steps of the Richards’ blue-gray house, visitors gingerly laid down flowers. Someone had written “peace” at the end of the driveway, according to the Globe.

A 7 p.m. ET candlelit vigil is scheduled for St. Ann Parish in Dorchester, about a mile from the home, church officials told CNN.

Neighbor Jane Sherman told CNN that William Richard came home Monday night about 10:30. He seemed extremely upset and didn’t appear to want to talk, she said.

On Tuesday at the Richard home, a 10-year-old girl who went to school with Martin came by with her mother.

“We came here to pay our respects,” the mother told CNN. “My daughter was very sad. He was a very nice boy.”

Martin attended the Neighborhood House Charter School, according to a school official.

The boy “was a bright, energetic young boy who had big dreams and high hopes for his future, the school said in a statement. “We are heartbroken by this loss.”

“We are also praying for his mother Denise, our school librarian and sister Jane, another Neighborhood House Charter student, who were seriously injured yesterday,” the statement said.

The family represent “the very best this city has to offer,” it said.

Martin made his “peace” sign in May when his school organized a “Peace Walk.” Holding their homemade signs, kids walked around the city making a big statement with a simple act. In bubble letters, one of his classmates wrote, “No more violence!”

In another photo of Martin — this one apparently marking what was perhaps his first communion — he is smiling, missing a few teeth, handsome and proud in his white suit. He holds a colorful communion banner. On it is a dove that symbolizes the Holy Spirit.

The Richard family was very active in the neighborhood.

“They are beloved by this community,” City Councilor at Large Ayanna Pressley told the Globe. Pressley and other devastated residents gathered at Tavolo Restaurant in Dorchester to mourn.

The family contributes “in many ways,” she said. “That’s why you see this outpouring. It’s surreal; it’s tragic.”

Sherman said that the Richard family is a “typical all-American family” and that Martin and his little brother always loved to play in their yard, no matter the weather.

Neighbor Dan Aguilar told The Boston Globe the same and said he was having a hard time wrapping his mind around the child’s death.

“That little boy will never come home again,” he told the paper. “It’s still unreal. I have no words. I have no words.”

While so much grieving continues, more details are emerging about Monday’s bombings.

No suspects have been identified in the case, which federal authorities are classifying as an act of terrorism. It was not immediately known whether the origin of the bombings was domestic or foreign.

The intelligence community is poring through all threat reporting for any clues, U.S. counterterrorism officials told CNN. That includes any claims made on jihadist websites.

Nothing is being dismissed this early on, the officials said.

CNN’s Gary Tuchman contributed to this report.


Photo source: Facebook

(CNN) — Comedian-actor Patton Oswalt may not seem the most likely person to soothe the wounded national psyche after the deadly bombs that struck the Boston Marathon. Oswalt has no obvious ties to Boston, and he makes a living telling jokes, not comforting the afflicted.

But Oswalt’s eloquent thoughts about the attacks, which he posted Monday afternoon to his Facebook page, have been widely passed around the Internet as an inspiring testament to humankind’s inherent goodness in the face of evil. (Warning: he uses strong language.)

“I remember, when 9/11 went down, my reaction was, ‘Well, I’ve had it with humanity.’ But I was wrong,’ ” wrote Oswalt, best known as the voice of Remy the rat from “Ratatouille” and for playing Spencer on TV’s “The King of Queens.”

“This is a giant planet and we’re lucky to live on it but there are prices and penalties incurred for the daily miracle of existence. One of them is, every once in awhile, the wiring of a tiny sliver of the species gets snarled and they’re pointed towards darkness,” he wrote.

“But the vast majority stands against that darkness and, like white blood cells attacking a virus, they dilute and weaken and eventually wash away the evil doers and, more importantly, the damage they wreak. This is beyond religion or creed or nation. We would not be here if humanity were inherently evil. We’d have eaten ourselves alive long ago.

“So when you spot violence, or bigotry, or intolerance or fear or just garden-variety misogyny, hatred or ignorance, just look it in the eye and think, ‘The good outnumber you, and we always will.’ “

As of Tuesday morning, Oswalt’s post had received more than 260,000 Likes and had been shared more than 200,000 times.

It has also garnered more than 10,000 comments on Facebook. Among them was this one, from a woman in Annapolis, Maryland:

“Sharing this message. This is exactly what I told my children last night. The good will always outnumber the bad. My husband was there and is safe. But my heart is just broken for those who are not.”

Read his full Facebook post here: (Warning! His language is not for kids!)

bomb blast(CNN) — Investigators are scouring the most complex crime in Boston’s history, piecing through massive amounts of video, processing tips around the clock and examining items collected from an apartment. But so far, no suspects or motive have been determined in the probe of Monday’s twin bombings at the Boston Marathon.

The blasts turned a crowded celebration into a mess of devastation, leaving three people killed and more than 170 wounded.

“We will go to the ends of the Earth to identify the subject or subjects who are responsible for this despicable crime — and we will do everything we can to bring them to justice,” said Richard DesLauriers, the special agent in charge of the FBI’s Boston Division.

“Our mission is clear: to bring to justice those responsible… The American public wants answers. The citizens of the city of Boston and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts want and deserve answers.”

Apartment searched

Authorities including bomb experts searched an apartment in nearby Revere, Massachusetts, and removed items. But officials cautioned that the search did not suggest that there was a suspect.

The search was connected to a young Saudi citizen who is visiting on a student visa and has been questioned, a law enforcement official said, adding that the student consented and no warrant was needed. So far, the official told CNN, he has not heard of anything being found connecting the person to the bombings.

The Revere Fire Department said on its Facebook page that the FBI; the Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives; immigration officials, state and local police, detectives and bomb techs all took part in the search at the apartment, which lasted from early evening Monday until the early hours of Tuesday.

Investigators told police Monday to be on the lookout for a “darker-skinned or black male” with a possible foreign accent in connection with the marathon bombs, according to a law enforcement advisory obtained by CNN. 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.

A Saudi woman, a medical student who was injured in the blast, has also been interviewed, according to a law enforcement source.

Boston Police Commissioner Ed Davis said many people were being questioned.

No unexploded bombs

Officials Tuesday announced a twist in the probe: Suspicious packages that were detonated out of precaution were not explosive devices after all.

After the blasts Monday, some officials reported that explosive devices that failed to go off were found.

But investigators said Tuesday the only bombs were the two that exploded at the marathon.

They were small, and initial tests showed no C-4 or other high-grade explosive material, suggesting the packages used in the attack were crude devices, a federal law enforcement official in the intelligence community said.

Doctors believe bombs contained sharp objects

Two doctors overseeing treatment of the injured believe the explosive devices contained nails or similar objects.

Many patients have severe wounds “related to the blast effect of the bomb as well as small metallic fragments that entered their bod,” including “pellets” and “nail-like objects,” said Dr. George Velmahos, head of trauma care at Massachusetts General Hospital.

A variety of sharp objects were found inside the patients bodies, he said, adding that the bombs probably contained multipe metallic fragments.

Asked whether what was found in the patients’ bodies could have come from nearby objects that exploded in the blast, Velmahos said he believes the materials were likely part of the explosive devices.

Ron Walls, chair of emergency medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, said most patients there were wounded by “ordinary debris.” But three were injured by “perfectly round objects” that were “very uniform, consistent, metallic,” he said. And another patient had more than 12 carpenter-type nails.

“There is no question some of these objects were implanted in the device for the purpose of being exploded forward,” Wall said.

Authorities have not said what the bombs may have been made of.

Smallest shreds could yield big clues

Tiny clues at the crime scene may provide those answers. Investigators are carrying out the painstaking process of analyzing fragments for anything that could indicate the bombs’ “signature,” said a federal law enforcement official who works in the intelligence community.

The crime scene has been reduced from 15 blocks to 12 and will be narrowed as the investigation proceeds, Davis said Tuesday. He called it “the most complex crime scene that we’ve dealt with in the history of our department.”

The crowded celebration Monday at Boston’s busy Copley Square provides police will all sorts of potential clues.

Authorities also plan to search through videos from surveillance cameras near the attack. So far, no footage has been spotted showing someone placing the bombs, a law enforcement source said.

The large number of photos and videos from the marathon will keep numerous investigators busy.

Davis vowed authorities will sift “through every frame of every video.”

Authorities have asked anyone with images from any part of the marathon to share them with police.

“People don’t know that they were witnesses — that they might actually have evidence in their phones or in their cameras,” Juliette Kayyem, President Obama’s former assistant secretary for homeland security, said on CNN’s “Starting Point.”

The FBI is likely issuing subpoenas for records from cell towers in the area to isolate and trace calls from around Copley Square at the time of the blasts, according to a federal law enforcement official.

Nothing ruled out

The intelligence community is poring through all threat reporting for any clues, U.S. counterterrorism officials told CNN.

That includes any claims made on jihadist websites.

Nothing is being dismissed this early on, the officials said.

It isn’t clear Monday whether the origin of the bombings was domestic or foreign.

Keating called the bombings a “sophisticated, coordinated, planned attack.”

A law enforcement official in Boston said investigators “have a number of active leads and some good early progress in the forensics analysis.”

There were no credible threats ahead of the race, a state government official said.

The FBI is taking the lead in investigating the attack near the marathon’s finish line.

“This will be a combined federal, state and local effort,” DesLauriers said.

Describing it a “criminal investigation” that is also “a potential terrorist investigation,” DesLauriers said the FBI was declaring federal jurisdiction over the matter through the Boston Joint Terrorism Task Force.

Quick action helped preserve crime scene

Boston officials who worked quickly Monday to clear the crime scene and divert thousands of runners half a mile away should get an award, said Kayyem, who also served as homeland security adviser to Gov. Patrick.

The move minimized chaos and “preserved the crime scene, which is going to be key for the FBI investigation. Those are lessons learned out of 9/11.”

Open events are hard to secure, Kayyem said. “People say, ‘Oh, how could this happen again?…’ The better way to look at it, I think, is: Did we respond better? I think the answer is yes.”

“The situation remains fluid, and it remains too early to establish the cause and motivation,” the FBI’s Boston Division said in a statement asking people to call in with any information, images or details related to the explosions.

“No piece of information or detail is too small,” it said.

CNN’s Jethro Mullen and staff in Boston, New York John King, Matt Smith, Steve Almasy, and Monte Plott contributed to this report.