Posted by simplyjuliana
on Apr 19th, 2013 in News
| 0 comments
Photo Source: Fox News
BREAKING NEWS: Boston remained on lockdown, with Black Hawk helicopters patrolling the skies and authorities “going door-to-door, street-to-street” through the Watertown section as the hunt for the second Boston Marathon bomber continued following a chaotic night of mayhem night that saw a police officer and one of the suspects killed.
Earlier, a bullet-riddled SUV was recovered in the city’s Watertown section and the FBI searched a home in Cambridge where the brothers were believed to have lived. A woman was taken from inside the building, but it was not known if she had any connection to the suspects.
Police believe the two suspects from Monday’s terror attack are Chechen brothers, Muslims possibly from Dagestan, a province in Russia that borders Chechnya. The man on the loose was identified as Dzhokhar A. Tsarnaev, 19, of Cambridge, Mass. They are believed to have been here for “several years,” sources said, and potentially up to a decade.
“We have several other new leads that have just developed with the past few minutes,” said Massachusetts State Police Police Superintendent Timothy Alben, speaking at a news conference early Friday afternoon. He said police had covered “60 to 70 percent” of the perimeter, inside which they believe Tsarnaev is hiding.
Police believe Tsarnaev could be armed and consider him extremely dangerous. He and his brother — in a vehicle they carjacked from a man who later escaped — led police on a chase through city streets after robbing a 7-11 in Cambridge and killing a Massachusetts Institute of Technology police officer, according to authorities.
The suspects threw explosives from the car and exchanged gunfire with police who were in pursuit as it headed into Watertown, according to the district attorney’s news release. Tamerlan Tsarnaev, 26, was shot several times in the gunfight and pronounced dead late Thursday at an area hospital. But his younger brother escaped, and continued to elude authorities, who were going door-to-door all morning in Watertown.
“Suspect No. 1 is dead, Suspect 2 is on the run,” Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick said at a Friday morning press conference. “There is a massive manhunt underway.”
Police also found a car believed to be registered to Tamerlan Tsarnaev in Boston, after earlier issuing a lookout bulletin to Connecticut State police. The Black Hawk choppers were flying above Watertown “to provide extra eyes,” sources told The Boston Globe.
During the pursuit, a MBTA transit police officer was seriously injured and transported to the hospital, according to a news release. He was identified as Richard H. Donahue Jr., 33, and was being treated at Mt. Auburn Hospital.
Witnesses told The Associated Press they heard multiple gunshots and explosions at about 1 a.m. Friday. Dozens of police officers and FBI agents were in the neighborhood and a helicopter circled overhead.
State police spokesman David Procopio told the news agency: “The incident in Watertown did involve what we believe to be explosive devices possibly, potentially, being used against the police officers.”
Doctors at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston where a suspect in the marathon bombings was taken and later died said they treated a man with a possible blast injury and multiple gunshot wounds. They wouldn’t say if the patient they treated, who came in with police, was the suspect in the black hat from marathon surveillance footage.
Schools are closed, train and bus service is suspended and police were telling residents of neighborhoods including Cambridge, Waltham, Watertown, Newton, Arlington and Belmont to stay indoors.
The suspects apparently surfaced just hours after the FBI released their imaged late Thursday afternoon, going on a bloody rampage that claimed the life of MIT Police Officer Sean Collier, 26. He was found shot to death in his squad car at 10:20 p.m. Thursday. It was not clear if he was killed before or after the convenience store was robbed, at about 10 p.m.
“The MIT Police serve all of us at the Institute with great dignity, honor and dedication,” Israel Ruiz, MIT’s executive vice president and treasurer, said in a statement. “Everyone here — those who knew Officer Collier, and those who did not — are devastated by the events that transpired on our campus last night. We will never forget the seriousness with which he took his role protecting MIT and those of us who consider it home.”
Earlier Friday, Cambridge police and the Middlesex District Attorney’s office said the MIT officer was responding to a report of a disturbance when he was shot multiple times late Thursday. He later died at a hospital. His name was not immediately released.
Procopio said the shooting took place about 10:30 p.m. outside an MIT building. The area was cordoned off and surrounded by responding law enforcement agencies, according to a posting on the university’s website.
The shooting came little more than three days after the twin bombings on the Boston Marathon that killed three people, wounded more than 180 others and led to an increase in security across the city.
Click here for more from MyFoxBoston.com.
Fox News’ Jennifer Griffin, Jana Winter, Mike Tobin, Mike Levine, Griff Jenkins and The Associated Press contributed to this report
Posted by simplyjuliana
on Apr 18th, 2013 in News
| 0 comments
A small Texas town where as many as 15 people were killed in an explosion at a fertilizer plant late Wednesday is reeling as rescuers comb the rubble house by house and one official laments: “part of that community is gone.”
Police say between 5 to 15 people were killed and more than 160 were injured during the massive blast at West Fertilizer in downtown West — a community of roughly 2,600 residents about 20 miles north of Waco. The explosion occurred around 8 p.m. and could be heard as far away as Waxahachie, a town located 45 miles north. It sent flames spiraling high into the evening sky and rained burning embers, shrapnel and debris down on frightened residents.
“There are homes flattened. Part of that community is gone.”
- Waco Police Department Sgt. William Patrick Swanton
“Homes have been destroyed,” Waco Police Sgt. William Patrick Swanton said. “There are homes flattened. Part of that community is gone.”
A member of the city council, Al Vanek, said a four-block area around the explosion was “totally decimated.” Other witnesses compared the scene to that of the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing and authorities said the plant made materials similar to that used to fuel the bomb that tore apart that city’s Murrah Federal Building.
Debby Marak told The Associated Press that she noticed a lot of smoke in the area across town near the plant when she finished teaching her religion class Wednesday. She said she drove over to see what was happening, and that when she got there, two boys came running toward her screaming that the authorities had ordered everyone out because the plant was going to explode. She drove only about a block when it did.
“It was like being in a tornado,” Marak, 58, said during a phone interview. “Stuff was flying everywhere. It blew out my windshield. It was like the whole earth shook.”
Marak called her husband and asked him to come get her. When they got to their home about two miles south of town, her husband told her what he’d seen: a huge fireball that rose like “a mushroom cloud.”
The USGS reported that the blast registered a magnitude 2.1, which is comparable to a minor earthquake.
“They are still getting injured folks out and they are evacuating people from their homes,” Swanton said early Thursday. He added later: “At some point this will turn into a recovery operation, but at this point, we are still in search and rescue.”
Gov. Rick Perry told reporters during a press conference Thursday in Austin that the explosion was a “truly nightmare scenario” that likely affected every family in the small community.
“This tragedy has most likely hit every family, touched practically everyone in that town,” Perry said. “I ask all Americans and Texans to join me and Anita in keeping them in our prayers.”
Swanton said authorities believe that between 5 and 15 people were killed in the blast, but stressed that’s an early estimate as search and rescue operations remain under way. There is no indication the blast was anything other than an industrial accident, he said. At least three firefighters are still missing.
The still-smoldering fire was “somewhat under control” by early Thursday, Swanton said, adding that authorities were not concerned about lingering smoke.
Swanton said a “small amount of looting” has occurred near the blast site, but he did not provide additional details. He said looters are a “significant concern” to authorities and that at least one person suspected of being a looter was spotting running from a damaged home.
“The town is secure,” Swanton added.
A weather front is bringing cooler temperatures and thunderstorms into the area. The National Weather Service in Fort Worth said thunderstorms are expected to affect West until about 9 a.m. Thursday, though lightning should become less frequent gradually. Temperatures are dropping into the low 50s.
The U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives is sending a national response team to the site. ATF spokeswoman Franceska Perot said Thursday the unit includes fire investigators, explosives experts, chemists and canine units.
West Mayor Tommy Muska, who is also a volunteer firefighter, did not answer questions about his fellow firefighters, but said: “I ask for your prayers.”
A search for survivors continued throughout the night, as emergency workers went house to house and business to business looking for people trapped in the rubble.
“We’ve got a lot of people who are hurt, and there’s a lot of people, I’m sure, who aren’t gonna be here tomorrow,” Muska said. “We’re gonna search for everybody. We’re gonna make sure everybody’s accounted for. That’s the most important thing right now.”
The town’s volunteer firefighters responded to a call at the plant about 6 p.m., Swanton said. Muska was among them, and he and his colleagues were working to evacuate the area around the plant when the blast followed about 50 minutes later. Muska said it knocked off his fire helmet and blew out the doors and windows of his nearby home.
The main fire was under control as of 11 p.m., Texas Department of Public Safety spokesman D.L. Wilson said, but residents were urged to remain indoors because of the threat of new explosions or leaks of ammonia from the plant’s ruins.
Dozens of emergency vehicles amassed at the scene in the hours after the blast, as fires continued to smolder in the ruins of the plant and in several surrounding buildings. Aerial footage showed injured people being treated on the flood-lit football field that had been turned into a staging area.
Vanek said first-responders treated victims at about half a dozen sites, and he saw several injured residents from the nursing home being treated at the community center. Swanton said early Thursday morning the injured were being taken to hospitals in Waco and a triage center at high school in nearby Abbott.
A spokesman at Hillcrest Baptist Medical Center in Waco told The Associated Press the facility received 98 patients, including the five in intensive care. Another 30 have serious injuries, including orthopedic and head trauma. Providence Health Center in Waco treated 65 patients from the explosion, admitting 12. A spokeswoman says those patients had broken bones, cuts, head injuries, minor burns and some breathing problems.
Two patients were also being treated at Parkland Hospital in Dallas.
MyFoxDFW.com reports as many as 300 people were taken away from the scene with injuries. Roughly 133 patients, including some in wheelchairs, were evacuated from the West Rest Haven Nursing Home, which was among the damaged buildings.
Up to 75 homes were also damaged, as well as an apartment complex with about 50 units that was reduced to a “skeleton,” Wilson said.
Erick Perez, 21, of West, was playing basketball at a nearby school when the fire started. He and his friends thought nothing of it at first, but about a half-hour later, the smoke changed color. The blast threw him, his nephew and others to the ground and showered the area with hot embers, shrapnel and debris.
“The explosion was like nothing I’ve ever seen before,” Perez said. “This town is hurt really bad.”
The explosion knocked out power and could be heard and felt for miles around. Lydia Zimmerman told KWTX-TV that she, her husband and daughter were in their garden in Bynum — 13 miles from West — when they heard multiple blasts.
“It sounded like three bombs going off very close to us,” she said.
Lucy Nashed, a spokesman for Perry’s office, said personnel from several agencies were en route to West or already there, including the Texas Commission for Environmental Quality, the state’s emergency management department and an incident management team. Also responding is the state’s top urban search and rescue team, the state health department and mobile medical units.
The U.S. Chemical Safety Board said it was deploying a large investigation team to West. American Red Cross crews from across Texas also headed to the scene. Red Cross spokeswoman Anita Foster said the group was working with emergency management officials in West to find a safe shelter for residents displaced from their homes.
Swanton said he had no details on the number of people who work at the plant, which was cited by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality in 2006 for failing to obtain or to qualify for a permit. The agency acted after receiving a complaint in June of that year of a strong ammonia smell.
In 2001, an explosion at a chemical and fertilizer plant killed 31 people and injured more than 2,000 in Toulouse, France. The blast occurred in a hangar containing 300 tons of ammonium nitrate, which can be used for both fertilizer and explosives. The explosion came 10 days after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks in the U.S., and raised fears at the time it was linked. A 2006 report blamed the blast on negligence.
President Obama, in a statement released Thursday, thanked first responders in the “tight-knit” Texas community.
“I want to thank the first responders who worked tirelessly through the night to contain the situation and treat the wounded,” the statement read. “My Administration, through FEMA and other agencies, is in close contact with our state and local partners on the ground to make sure there are no unmet needs as search and rescue and response operations continue. West is a town that many Texans hold near and dear to their hearts, and as residents continue to respond to this tragedy, they will have the support of the American people.”
Posted by simplyjuliana
on Apr 17th, 2013 in News
| 0 comments
The FBI has confirmed that a letter addressed to President Obama has “preliminarily tested positive” for ricin, a day after lawmakers said another letter sent to the Capitol Hill office of Sen. Roger Wicker tested positive for the same substance.
The warnings come amid a flurry of reports on suspicious packages. Fox News has learned of several suspicious packages or envelopes in various Capitol Hill office buildings. Capitol Police say three packages that were flagged have been removed and the areas have been cleared.
Separately, the office of Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich., reported a “suspicious-looking letter” at one of the senator’s Michigan offices; and a spokesman for Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., reported a “suspicious letter” was intercepted at Flake’s Phoenix office. Authorities were also called to the Dallas office of Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, over what was described only as “a piece of mail” — but field tests later came back negative.
The package alerts compounded security concerns in the wake of the letter incidents and the Boston bombing, which the FBI has said do not appear to be related.
Both of the initial suspicious letters were apparently intercepted on Tuesday. They never reached the Hill or the White House.
An FBI bulletin obtained by Fox News said the letter sent to Obama is still being screened, though it initially tested positive.
The bulletin said both letters included the phrase: “To see a wrong and not expose it, is to become a silent partner to its continuance.”
Both were signed, “I am KC and I approve this message.”
The letter to the Mississippi Republican was intercepted at an off-site mail screening facility.
Authorities declined to comment on a suspect or any other aspect of the investigation being led by Capitol Police, but Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., told the Associated Press police have a suspect in mind.
“The person that is a suspect writes a lot of letters to members,” McCaskill said as she emerged from a classified briefing.
Testing is apparently still underway. The letter tested positive for ricin in a field test, but the FBI released a statement Wednesday saying tests have shown “inconsistent results” and the substance is being further analyzed.
According to a Homeland Security Department handbook, ricin is deadliest when inhaled. It is not contagious, but there is no antidote.
Wicker thanked law enforcement officials in a statement for “their hard work and diligence in keeping” those who work in the Capitol safe, adding that the matter is part of an ongoing investigation by Capitol Police and the FBI. “Gayle and I appreciate everyone’s thoughts and prayers,” he said.
As of Tuesday night, mail delivery had only been stopped to the Senate, not the House.
“It is of concern,” Sen. Angus King, I-Maine, said after learning about the incident in a briefing with other senators late Tuesday.
The envelope had a Tennessee postmark and no return address.
The letter inside included an implied threat to effect of: “You haven’t listen to me before. Now you will, even if people have to die,” Politico also reported.
Sources say officials are familiar with the person believed to have sent the letter as the person has sent other letters before.
FBI Director Robert Mueller and Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano were on Capitol Hill on Tuesday for a scheduled talk about cyber security. But that briefing morphed into talks about Boston, after the bombings Monday.
Senate Sergeant at Arms Terry Gainer conducted a separate briefing for senators specifically on ricin.
It’s unclear whether the letter had any connection to the Boston attack.
The mail-screening system was established after the Anthrax attacks of 2001 that closed the Hart Senate Office Building.
Source: foxnews.com Fox News’ Chad Pergram and Mike Levine and The Associated Press contributed to this report.