By The Citizen Staff
Two explosions at the Boston Marathon finish line on Monday thrust the city into the international spotlight this week; as media outlets from around the world flooded in to report the story, dignitaries – including President Barack Obama – offered condolences, and a carjacking early Friday morning led to a day-long police operation that shut down the entire city.
Harvard Kennedy School students Nathan Finney and Billy Pope were among the official runners at Boston’s cherished road race, the oldest continually running marathon which draws close to 25,000 runners annually. The duo, which had been training for four months and raised more than $10,000 for ReadBoston, were turned around less than a quarter-mile from the finish line.
Many more students, faculty and staff were cheering on runners along the course. Jon Murad and Mike Finn, two other Kennedy School students, were among those at the finish line and were within feet of the explosion. Immediately after the two blasts, they helped pull away barricades so rescue workers could get to victims.
When news first arrived on campus, someone switched on the television in the forum to loud volume. Nearly everyone put aside their work to tune in. For those in Boston during the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks in which two of the hijacked planes departed from Logan International Airport, the mood was eerily similar.
Within the hour, the campus was evacuated and students were urged to return home. Students answered concerns from parents and loved ones with messages of ‘I’m OK’ on social media.
As news poured in throughout the week and the area around Copley remained on lockdown, we learned that the three fatalities were all under the age of 30 and included Boston University graduate student Lu Lingzi and daughter of a Harvard Business School employee, Krystle Campbell, as well as eight-year-old Martin Richard from Dorchester. An additional 170 people were injured.
In recognition of the victims, the Harvard Kennedy School held a moment of silence on Tuesday afternoon.
The situation took another turn early Friday morning when police chased the two suspects down Memorial Drive from Cambridge into Watertown. Police were alerted to the presence of the two suspects by a carjacking. Officials also linked them to the death of MIT police officer Sean Collier who was found shot in his vehicle.
Students living in campus housing said they heard explosions as the two suspects tossed pressure-cooker bombs at pursuing police. Once in Watertown, an intense shoot-out took place that left the older suspect Tamerlan Tsarnaev dead.
From early that morning until 8:30 p.m., police combed the neighborhood, looking for the second suspect, 19-year-old Dzhokhar Tsarnaev.They placed the entire city on lock-down and urged residents to ‘shelter in place’. Businesses, colleges – including Harvard – and government offices were closed. Multiple Kennedy School professors were interviewed by media outlets on counter-terrorism efforts as the police operation progressed.
Moments after police lifted the lock down Friday night, officials were alerted to the location of the second suspect. He was hiding in a boat in Watertown. To the cheers of local residents, the suspect was taken to Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center.
The Kennedy School campus reopened the next day.
On Monday, Dean David Ellwood held a moment of reflection in the forum followed by a two-hour opportunity for informal conversation in order to – as he wrote in an e-mail to the community – “remember those who lost their lives, to stand together in support of all those who were injured, and to pay tribute to the hundreds of first responders and medical professionals who performed so courageously.”