A page on poison letters, bombs, and explosions – April 2013

This is just a place for me to keep up on the Boston Marathon bombing, the Texas explosion near Waco, and the ricin letters.

Kevin Curtis has been released and charges against him have been dropped. He is the Elvis impersonator who was accused of sending a letter containing poison ricin to Obama.
His defense lawyer says he was framed by a former friend who wrote Curtis’ online catchphrase ‘I’m KC and I approve this message’ in the letters to President Obama.

Article at Daily Mail
Interview with Piers Morgan



Help Us Find Him: Community members wanting 2 aid the search can call(800) CALL-FBI or EMAIL at boston@ic.fbi.gov

white hat

My 7:45AM CST summary April 19th: The entire city of Boston is on lockdown.
People are being asked to stay inside their homes. One of the two suspects identified yesterday by FBI is dead and the other “white hat” suspect, Dzhokhar A. Tsarnaev, [as identified in FBI photos released yesterday] is at large and presumed to be wearing a suicide vest after a late night/early morning shoot out which began with a botched 7/11 robbery and fatality of an MIT security officer in Cambridge, Mass. The 2 suspects fled the 7/11 went toward Watertown, Mass, and a fire fight began in Watertown, which is a few miles away. Initial reports said that ‘grenades’ were thrown in that gunfight and automatic gunfire came from the suspects and a later eyewitness report indicated that a pressure cooker bomb was thrown at police. Reports now say that several undetonated bombs were distributed in Watertown. The “black hat” suspect was pronounced dead early this morning. The “white hat” suspect successfully fled the firefight scene in Watertown, Mass., it seems, in a vehicle. The suspects are brothers age 19 and 26. They originally come from Chechnya. More at NYTIMES

NPR now has a timeline of these events.


7:54PM CST
From KTLA:
After a 2 hour stand-off, police say the teenager is alive and in custody, but has lost a lot of blood.

7:33 PM CST
RT @bostonglobe: Three people taken into custody in New Bedford as part of Boston Marathon terror bombing investigation.

6:26 PM CST
RT @BuzzFeedNews: Boston Mayor: Man believed to be suspect is surrounded by police, in a boat in a Watertown backyard. (@CBSNews)

5:30 PM CST
“We do not have an apprehension of our subject this afternoon, but we will have one,” Massachusetts State Police Col. Timothy Alben said at a press conference Friday evening, adding, “There’s much left to be done. As of 5:10 PM CST Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick had lifted the “stay indoors” order that had been in effect since early Friday morning. source: AJC

Mass.gov Emergency Alert “Last updated at April 19, 2013 02:10 PM”

Boston and are towns are in a “shelter in place” emergency status. FEMA has a F.A.Q. on that.
The national guard troops walking the streets of Boston are with the “WMD civil support team”.

From 4/18/13
National Guard’s civil support teams respond to crisis nation-wide
“In Boston, more than 850 National Guard members were on duty to assist local authorities with logistics, security and other operations. In addition to the CST members, the team also included members of the Massachusetts Army National Guard’s 387th Ordnance Company (Explosive Ordnance Disposal) and the 267th Combat Communications Squadron from the Massachusetts Air National Guard. The 267th CCS brings with them the Joint Incident Site Communications Capability, which allows voice, radio and data communication across multiple systems used by first responders.”

Any attempt to draw a connection between Chechnya and Tsarnaevs — if they are guilty — is futile. They were raised in the United States, and their attitudes and beliefs were formed there. It is necessary to seek the roots of this evil in America. The whole world must struggle against terrorism — that we know better than anyone else. We hope for the recovery of all the victims, and we mourn with the Americans.

~ Chechnya’s president, Ramzan Kadyrov

12:49 PM CST
Dunkin’ Donuts Open in Waterdown, Mass.
“Nothing says Boston like … Dunkin’ Donuts?…“There was an automated message going around telling businesses to close, but because we’re Dunkin’ Donuts, we called the police department and they said we didn’t have to [close].” BuzzFeed confirms—some locations were told to remain open to help cops and first responders. And yes, everything was free.” from The Beast

white people frisked watertown

12:25 PM CST Collected coverage from the Boston Globe

12:02 PM CST “Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, the 19 year old being hunted by law enforcement in Boston Friday, became a naturalized U.S. citizen only last year, an administration official confirmed to The Cable….” Foreign Policy

10:07 AM CST – A few tweets make it sound like media is getting on police nerves – practically in the way.
media getting in way

9:48 AM CST- Taxi service in the City of Boston has been restored.

AP footage of cops doing searches door to door.

lockdown boston

Resources to use for constant updates:
Boston police, fire, and EMS scanner online

Live blogging: Reuters

Background on Chechnya’s politics, conflicts, and terrorism activity at The Week.

7:13AM CST

The suspect still at large is the individual wearing a white hat in earlier Boston Marathon photos released by the FBI.
He’s been identified as
Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, 19, of Cambridge, Mass.

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev

Who he is – a profile from AtlanticWire

I first learned of the developing story close to midnight as I followed
@MichaelSkolnik‘s tweets. He’s still tweeting on the story right now.

Texas explosion 8:32 PM EDT, Thu April 18, 2013
Some 35 people — including 10 first responders — died in an massive explosion Wednesday night at a fertilizer plant in West, Texas, Mayor Tommy Muska said, according to USA Today.
The number included five volunteer fire fighters, four emergency responders and an off-duty fire fighter from Dallas who lived in West, the mayor told the newspaper.
Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings identified the off-duty fire fighter as Kenny Harris, a captain in his city’s fire department. Harris “rushed to the scene as a helper,” Rawlings said on Twitter.
Officials at news conferences in West were unwilling to give any numbers on victims. They have only confirmed there have been casualties.
Earlier, Waco Police Sgt. William Patrick Swanton estimated there were five to 15 people who died.
George Smith, West’s director of emergency services, has said the death toll could spike to 60 or 70.
More than 160 people were injured….
More at Report: As many as 35 killed in Texas plant explosion

Boston bombing

The FBI has released video and photos of 2 suspects.
Here’s today’s press conference:

Surveillance video:

AtlanticWire has compiled photos as well.

They got some of those photos from users at reddit: an international forum. See their work for yourself HERE.
To become a user at reddit you only need to come up with a username and a password.

Helpful tips for reddit newbies: the squeamish should avoid links tagged with WTF or NSFL (Not Safe for Life links contain very explicit gore). NSFW means “not safe for work” and generally indicates that the content contains sex, or nudity.


Ricin letters

Kevin Curtis has been released and charges against him have been dropped. He is the Elvis impersonator who was accused of sending a letter containing poison ricin to Obama.
His defense lawyer says he was framed by a former friend who wrote Curtis’ online catchphrase ‘I’m KC and I approve this message’ in the letters to President Obama.

Article at Daily Mail
Interview with Piers Morgan
Elvis impersonator charged over poison letter sent to Obama
“Federal prosecutors filed criminal charges on Thursday against a Mississippi man, who worked as an Elvis impersonator, for threatening to harm President Barack Obama by sending him a letter that initially tested positive for the deadly poison ricin….”
Learn more at Christian Science Monitor

These seem to be videos of his work. I’m not a fan of this sort of thing but… umm… not impressed.


Texas explosion near Waco

“The area around the site of a massive explosion at a fertilizer plant that flattened much of a small Texas town remains “very volatile” due to the presence of ammonium nitrate, McLennan County Chief Deputy Sheriff Matt Cawthon said Thursday.
Authorities searched through mounds of rubble Thursday in hopes of finding survivors of the blast that left shattered homes and wreckage in a wide swath of West, Texas, a town of only 2,800 people….”
More at Official: Situation at Texas fertilizer plant still ‘very volatile’ after huge blast

From the facebook profile of Mark Ruthenberg:
fertilizer plant


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