tv NBC Nightly News NBC April 15, 2013 7:00pm-7:30pm EDT
>> announcer: terror in boston. this is nbc "nightly news" with brian williams. >> announcer: terror in boston. this is nbc "nightly news" with captions paid for by nbc-universal television that is what it looked like at ground level. the finish line at the boston marathon. it was after the first, the top tier of finishers. it was at the four hour, nine minute mark, exactly 2:50 this afternoon when first one explosion and then a secondary explosion went off. people couldn't imagine what the first one was, but with the second they knew, they suspected it was some sort of attack. it appears tonight we are coming on the air yet again in this post 9/11 era with word of an apparent terrorist attack within our shores. a terrible day in boston on what is a holiday in that city. it is patriots day.
they mark the lexington and concord battles. the red sox play baseball and they run the boston marathon. tonight the death toll stands at two. over 100 injured. we want to go to jonathan hall who reports from whgh tv. we have been watching their live coverage and airing it to a national audience. jonathan, you are at brig ham women's hospital where they took some of the injured, correct? >> reporter: that's right. boston-area hospitals have been completely inundated with patients. they drill for this. they say they are up to the task and they are ready, treating seriously injured people. this knows no bounds. it didn't discriminate on age or gender. we understand here patients ranged in age from 3 to 62, both men and women.
dozens pea being treated here. we saw fbi agents, atf agents going in and out. massachusetts state police, the boston s.w.a.t. team is guarding the entrance of the hospital. it is on lock down. nobody in, nobody out unless they have the proper identification. of course, relatives of those injured are allowed access to the hospital. once again, a lot of people here coming in, coming out. we have seen people crying. we have heard the stories as they have come out of the hospital talking about the blast. what they heard, what they saw, the desperate search for loved ones in boston. brian? >> i don't know thjonathan hall this all day. a terrible day in the history of boston. we are now joined by dr. ron walls, chief of emergency services at brigham and women's. thank you very much for taking time to talk with us tonight. a couple of things i'm struck by watching the coverage today. number one, how fortunate that
if a terrible thing had to happen it happened adjacent to the medical tent. so triage was fast. they were transported quickly and boston is fortunate to have some first class medical facilities close in and nearby. correct? >> yes. that's right. we have worked a lot on drilling these exact kind of events, not just within our level one trauma center here at brigham & women's but city wide. we have done a lot of work getting ready for something we hoped would never happen. >> sadly, doctor, two aspects of this sounded so familiar to those of us who have been covering combat the past several years, even on a part-time basis. number one, the notion of a primary and then secondary explosion. and number two, the nature of some of these injuries. i understand you have had some full leg amputations and there are shrapnel wounds. >> we had a lot of injuries, particularly to people's legs as
they were closer to the blast site. we also had a fair number of people injured by flying objects. we didn't see evidence that there were objects built into the device. these were random flying objects sent flying by the explosion of the bomb. or bombs. >> but really, leaving for work this morning on what is a holiday across the city, i am guessing that maybe brigham and women's hospital thought there would be dehydration cases, some after effect of the race. i'm guessing it is the last thing you thought you would have multiple casualties from a single event in that say. >> certainly hard to see this coming in any way. we fortunately have a medical team we deploy near the finish line anyway just as part of the normal coverage of the event. but we were ready and not ready. we are ready for this because we are ready for this any time. we certainly weren't anticipating the this today. >> dr. ron walls, chief of
emergency services at the great brigham and women's hospital in boston, mass. doctor, thank you for your day-long work on behalf of the folks brought to your doorstep. to our justice correspondent we go once again. pete williams in our washington bureau. pete, it probably bears repeating at this point while people may be seeing other aspects of security at their local airport train station, no reason to think this is anything beyond the boylston street bombings that we saw in boston. >> reporter: that's right. according to the officials i have talked to tonight, brian. of course they are still trying to figure out precisely what it was that happened in boston. we know that there were two bombs, but they are still saying there might have been others planted along the route of the marathon. packages found on the street were deemed suspicious and were being destroyed tonight. we still have not heard any firm confirmation of whether at least the five other packages actually
were explosive devices, although some officials say there is reason to think they were. there is no suspect in custody. but people are very interested in questioning a young person with a student visa who has burns and was seen by witnesses running fromar. suspes are form. several officials say the two bombs that did go off included shrapnel to multiply injuries including ball bearings. this unfortunately is not an innovation and has been used in terror bombings in the past. investigators are studying surveillance video to see if they can see anyone actually placing packages at the point where the bombs went off. they describe the devices as crude with, thankfully, less explosive power than might have been contained in packages of this size. now strictly as a precaution security has been stepped up around the white house to the hotels and places where crowds gather including some airports.
a homeland security official says no directives have been sent suggesting higher alert and no reason to think this is anything other than a threat to boston. reminiscent of the olympic park bombing in atlanta in 1996, this was caused by white supremacist eric rudolph. more than a hundred hurt. three years ago a white supremacist planted a backpack bomb along the parade route for a martin luther king day observance in spokane, washington, but it was discovered before the event and was safely removed, brian. >> pete williams in our washington bureau. pete, thanks. i want to bring in a proud son of boston. former boston police commissioner, new york city and los angeles. these days a security consultant. bill bratton. i understand you are in the london bureau where among the subjects you discussed today was
public event security. i.e. prime minister thatcher's funeral where you have 2000 vips attending. how are we going to defend and protect our public events when this goes off within the security cordon apparently surrounded by police, ems, volunteers at the finish line of your beloved boston marathon. >> the reality as was evident today is you can't protect everything all the time. you try to prioritize, focus. you try to identify if there is a threat. boston police commissioner indicated there had been no threat received by either his department or to his knowledge federal agencies. the fact that homeland security is not advising other areas of the country to raise their terrorism level, terrorism concern level is an indication to this stage there is no
credible threat that's been this afternoon in boston. >> and commissioner, if you were back here, would it be your guess that they will have one, two, three assorted views of the suspect on surveillance video by the time we go to bed u.s. time tonight? >> my sense is that what's happening at this moment there is they are attempting to, one, interview as many of those people who were transported to hospitals with injuries. they are trying to basically certainly be identifying and trying to interview all of the public safety personnel who were assigned to that specific area. they will be attempting to locate and interview people who were in the immediate area who were not injured but who may have seen things going on. they will certainly be looking at whatever cameras are in that area. that area has a bank on the corner with a number of businesses. so the common practice now is to
try to identify what cameras are in that area and to retrieve whatever film they may have. the irony here is two hours before this event that would have been one of the most heavily photographed areas in the world because there were hundreds of cameras from all over the world to record the finish of the marathon. this event occurred almost two hours after the first runner and female runner came across the finish line. so it was fortunate in some respects that the device went off two hours after the end of the race, if you will, the front runner. otherwise it would have been much larger crowds in the area at that time. >> i talked to a woman who said she was in a restaurant just out of the blast zone. they came in. boston p.d. said everyone with a cell phone put it down. was that because they were worried about an accidental ignition of a bomb? was that because they were fearful that maybe someone who was setting off the devices was
in the restaurant? >> you know, brian, i'm going to have to process ignorance about that set of instructions. whether the concern was by the police officers acting on their own that a device oh might have been remotely set off with a cell phone or if there was a concern that cell phone usage might accidentally set off a other as yet unexploded devices. you had a report earlier that as many as five items had been destroyed by the police as a note of caution. they might have contained explosive devices. that particular instruction. i can't help you out on what might have prompted that. >> commissioner bill bratton, thank you very much for being with us from our london bureau. >> thank you. back to the white house we go. chuck todd is out on the white house lawn. chuck, i have just been told house speaker boehner is leading a moment of oh silence for the boston victims across town from you on the floor of congress.
>> reporter: he is. we now see flags are officially being lowered to half staff. the president himself has been really in information receive mode. he's been getting updates all day when it comes from his homeland security director, fbi director. it's what the president said and what he didn't say that's important to listen to. take a listen to what the president said about who could be behind this and what will happen when they figure it out. >> we still do not know who did this or why. and people shouldn't jump to conclusions before we have all the facts. but make no mistake. we will get to the bottom of this. we will find out who did this. we'll find out why they did this. any responsible individuals, any responsible groups will feel the full weight of justice. >> reporter: as you heard there
he specifically didn't say the word "terrorism." that was a decision they made in advance not to use that term. down the street, brian, as you know, the president himself has briefed congressional leaders and speaker boehner himself led the u.s. congress in a moment of silence for those victims in boston. we are showing you a little bit of that now. so, brian, all of washington a little bit on edge because of a frustration of how little they seem to know which is unusual for this town. >> and, chuck, another illustration of the dark days that can come to the president. whoever happens to be the president at any given time. last time we saw the president kind of in this cast was days before christmas, that terribly sad announcement after newtown. >> reporter: it was. you know, it's interesting the different tone. you could hear and feel the frustration with the president this time. in the newtown days and just how much of a gut punch.
you could see the emotion with the president there. here, you can see and feel and hear the determination and, frankly, the frustration in his voice about the lack of what they know about what happened, who did this, and why. i can tell you in talking with various security officials they are frustrated. they are not used to even four hours after something like this happens to know as little as they seem to know tonight. >> chuck todd on the white house north lawn for us tonight. chuck, thanks. we'll take a break. ♪ [ female announcer ] from meeting customer needs... to meeting patient needs... ♪ wireless is limitless.
boston, mass. for more on that, we want to talk with veteran sports columnist for the new york daily news, author and broadcaster mike lupica. mike, you and i spoke earlier right after the news and right after the import of what happened here sunk in. for people not familiar with patriots day in boston, with this race as an event, what should they know about what this day should be like? >> reporter: brian, people talk about it as a state holiday. boston on this day and particularly this area around the finish line, it's like the capital of happy people. the only thing i have been comparing it to -- it's a beautiful day that's like times square on new year's eve in new york city. what's not supposed to happen is you are not supposed to see people running in terror away from the finish line. this is the day when you make it to the finish line and you are cheered like the biggest winner in the world whether it took you
three hours, four or five hours. i just talked -- my son is a junior at boston college, as you know. his sister -- the roommate of his sister ran in the race. a lot of the kids carry phones, some to listen to music. she's at the 23-mile mark today and her brother is at the finish line across the street from where the first bomb hit saying, stop running, a bomb went off here. >> think about the perversion of that. the fact that half of the race was still snaked through the streets, full stop. their day is over. all the achievement, all the struggle and challenge that went into this. think about the fact that most runners arrive in boston with a support group of two or three people. it is supposed to feel like new year's eve in new york only during the day. all of that comes to an end. >> and just up boylston street is the public garden and bosto
central park of boston. again, that is always a joyful place on this day. it became the saddest collection area for families and friends of runners on this day that there's ever been -- brian, there have been times in the past, i can't tell you how many times i have covered this race. again, it's a celebration, not just of the race, but of being alive in boston. when you try to make your way from fenway park from the baseball game back to the finish line you sometimes feel like you have run a marathon yourself. but all you see are smiling people and now you balance that off against the pictures that you have been showing for the last several hours. >> mike lupica, thank you so much for being with us. some great words after an awful day in a great american city. mike lupica of the new york daily news. back with more of the other news of this day right after this.
we are back. we'll have more on this situation in boston in a moment. first we wanted to get you caught up on the day's other news including what had been our top story all day until word arrived from boston. that, of course, is the situation in north korea. it remains tense tonight. still no missile launch from there though one was widely expected today on what would have been the 101st birthday of the founder of the nation, kim il song. the current owner kim jong un was seen in public today for the first time in two weeks, paying respects at the grave site of his grandfather. secretary of state john kerry is back in this country tonight after a whirlwind round of diplomacy in the region trying among other things to pressure china to put pressure on its
ally north korea to back down from its nuclear threats. in venezuela, hugo chavez's chosen successor, the interim president nicholas maduro has been elected that nation's new president. a narrow win though. just over 50% of the vote. and in this country the f.a.a. has ordered more than a thousand, mostly late model boeing 737s to be examined to see if a part of the planes' tails need to be replaced. specifically it's a pin that holds the horizontal stabilizer which the pilots use to control the pitch of the aircraft. the potential defect has not caused any accidents. f.a.a. says there is no immediate threat. if that were the case they say the planes would all be grounded and nothing close to that is happening. we're back with more of our coverage of the attack today in boston right after this.
we are back and back up to boston we go. nbc's katy tur was able to make her way up there after first word of this. it was striking to hear the governor of massachusetts tell people to stay in their homes, stay off the streets and avoid crowds. i imagine the center of the city still feels so eerie. >> so eerie, brian. everything that was dropped along the race route now is being considered suspicious. so they didn't want anybody around potentially dropping anything else or potentially getting in the way. they didn't know if other devices were out there at this time. people are looking for answers. right now there are still so fe we can tell is that the homeland security chairman has called this terrorism. this was not an accident. it was intentional.
it was intended to hurt and it was intended to scare, he says. it has done just that. it happened right around the four-hour mark of the race intended, it seems to do as much damage as possible. that's when most people finish the race. the back bay is silent. people are wondering what's going on. of course they are trying to figure out why anyone would do this. >> katy tur in boston where today was supposed to be just patriots day, a statewide holiday and just known for the running of the boston marathon. we are back at 10:00 p.m. eastern, 7:00 on the west coast. a special report on oh what happened today in boston.