BOSTON — Two bombs exploded near the finish line of the Boston Marathon Monday afternoon on Patriots Day, killing three spectators, including an 8-year-old boy, and injuring more than 140 other onlookers and runners.
Officers sweeping the area screened other suspicious packages in the vicinity, but officials said they did not discover any other explosives.
A fire-and-smoke incident less than two hours later at the cross-town John F. Kennedy Library was first thought to be related, but upon further investigation police determined it was an electrical fire and not connected.
The explosions near the finish line occurred more than four hours after the start of the race, and after 17,600 of the 27,000 runners had finished. The men's winner Lelisa Desisa of Ethiopia and the women's winner Rite Jeptoo of Kenya crossed the finish line two hours before the bombs went off.
Race organizers said most of the runners still completing the race at the time of the explosions were running for charity organizations and not among the elite marathoners.
The injured were first taken to medical tents set up to treat fatigued runners, then transferred by ambulance to Boston hospitals. Massachusetts General Hospital said six people taken there were in critical condition, five in serious condition.
Boston Police Commissioner Ed Davis said the marathon course bombs exploded at 2:50 p.m. in trash cans about 50 to 100 yards apart near the finish line on Boyleston street close to the Boston Public Library.
Witnesses reported a huge plume of white smoke, followed by a chaotic scene of screaming and crying by spectators lining the street and the runners approaching the end of their grueling 26.2-mile race.
Jill Harmacinski, a reporter covering the race for The Eagle-Tribune of North Andover, Mass., said the explosions sounded like cannon blasts or gun shots. She said there was "blood all over Boylston Street" at and near the finish line.