Bos­ton bomb re­sponse praised

Los Angeles Times - - THE NATION - By James Queally james.queally@la­times.com

A re­port an­a­lyz­ing the re­sponse to the 2013 Bos­ton Marathon bomb­ings largely praised first re­spon­ders and paramedics for life-sav­ing mea­sures taken at the site of the ex­plo­sions but raised ques­tions about de­ci­sions made by po­lice of­fi­cers dur­ing the chaotic man­hunt for the two broth­ers sus­pected in the attack.

The Mas­sachusetts Emer­gency Man­age­ment Agency pub­lished the 129page re­port Fri­day, pro­vid­ing an in-depth look at the de­ci­sions made by city lead­ers, fed­eral and lo­cal law en­force­ment and emer­gency man­age­ment per­son­nel in the week af­ter the blasts, which killed three peo­ple and in­jured more than 260.

Although the re­port re­ferred to the over­all re­sponse as a “great suc­cess,” por­tions of the doc­u­ment ques­tioned po­lice ac­tions in Water­town, Mass., dur­ing a gun battle with Dzhokhar and Tamer­lan Tsar­naev and the sub­se­quent pur­suit of Dzhokhar af­ter au­thor­i­ties killed his brother.

Specif­i­cally, the re­port crit­i­cized the ac­tions of of­fi­cers who ar­rived near the tail end of a shootout with the Tsar­naev broth­ers the morn­ing of April 18. Po­lice con­verged on Water­town af­ter the broth­ers shot and killed Mas­sachusetts In­sti­tute of Tech­nol­ogy Po­lice Of­fi­cer Sean Col­lier and car­jacked a ve­hi­cle, au­thor­i­ties say.

Although of­fi­cers ini­tially ex­er­cised proper weapons dis­ci­pline, po­lice ar­riv­ing late on the scene be­gan to fire with­out tak­ing proper aim, the re­port said. Of­fi­cers stand­ing on op­po­site sides of the street also shot at Dzhokhar Tsar­naev as he fled the scene, cre­at­ing a pos­si­ble cross­fire sit­u­a­tion.

An in­cor­rect re­port that Dzhokhar Tsar­naev had stolen an un­marked Mas­sachusetts State Po­lice truck also led to a near tragedy, as of­fi­cers fired on the ve­hi­cle mo­ments later, the re­port says. A Mas­sachusetts state trooper and a Bos­ton po­lice of­fi­cer were in­side, though they were not hurt.

The re­port also crit­i­cized an uniden­ti­fied of­fi­cer’s de­ci­sion to shoot in Dzhokhar Tsar­naev’s di­rec­tion dur­ing a stand­off the evening of April 19 while the sus­pect was hid­ing in a boat be­hind a house.

The of­fi­cer’s unau­tho­rized de­ci­sion to fire caused sev­eral other of­fi­cers, who be­lieved Tsar­naev was shoot­ing at them, to open fire as well, cre­at­ing “danger­ous cross­fire sit­u­a­tions,” the re­port said.

Re­sponse tac­tics on the day of the bomb­ings, how­ever, were met with high praise. Although dozens of peo­ple suf­fered crit­i­cal in­juries on Boyl­ston Street near the marathon fin­ish line, emer­gency per­son­nel were able to take each of them to a hos­pi­tal in less than 50 min­utes, the re­port said.

State emer­gency of­fi­cials cred­ited pre­ex­ist­ing re­la­tion­ships among state, lo­cal and fed­eral law en­force­ment agen­cies, and staff at a marathon med­i­cal tent that wound up func­tion­ing as a field hos­pi­tal, with sav­ing sev­eral lives.

The re­port also lauded the city’s de­ci­sion to ramp up se­cu­rity at area hos­pi­tals and other crit­i­cal lo­ca­tions, in the event the bomb­ings were part of a larger attack, and the swift dis­posal of 61 other “sus­pi­cious packages” near the bomb­ing scene.

Dzhokhar Tsar­naev re­mains on trial in Bos­ton. De­fense lawyers rested their case Tues­day, and a ver­dict could come as early as next week.

Matt Rourke As­so­ci­ated Press

A STATE re­view ques­tioned po­lice ac­tions dur­ing the man­hunt, but lauded ini­tial life-sav­ing mea­sures.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.