Two backpacks detonated as Boston gears up for marathon one year after deadly bombing

Bomb squad blows up two backpacks and Boston police arrest suspect on anniversary of deadly attack that killed three and injured scores

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 16 April, 2014, 1:37pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 16 April, 2014, 1:37pm

Police detonated two backpacks near the finish line of the Boston Marathon on Tuesday night and arrested a suspect on the anniversary of last year’s deadly bombings, media reported.

Hundreds of people were evacuated after the backpacks were found at the scene of the twin bombings that killed three people exactly a year ago.

The Boston Police Department wrote on its official Twitter account that a male suspect had been taken into custody in connection with the unattended backpacks.

Later, the backpacks were detonated as a precautionary measure, said Boston police Superintendent Randall Halstead during a briefing.

The suspect, identified as Kevin Edson, 25, was walking barefoot down the middle of Boylston Street just before 7pm, the Boston Globe reported.

Halstead said the man was dressed in black, carrying a knapsack and acting strangely but he did not give details of his behaviour.

Edson told an officer that he had a rice cooker in the bag, at which time he was arrested and the bomb squad was called in, said Halstead.

He said the bag was “rendered safe” by the bomb squad, and another bag located near the scene was also detonated in the same way.

The Globe said Halstead did not say what, if anything, police found in either bag, except to say there were “pieces” in the suspect’s bag that may verify what he said about the rice cooker. Halstead said police were investigating who owned the second bag.

This year’s marathon takes place on Monday.

Edson is scheduled to be arraigned in court during Wednesday on charges of threatening battery, possession of a hoax device, threat to commit a crime, disturbing the peace, disturbing a public assembly, and disorderly conduct, police said, according to the Globe.

A witness told reporters that the suspect insisted that he was a university student at the Massachusetts College of Art and Design, according to the witness.

Boston earlier paid asolemn tribute to the victims and survivors of the April 15, 2013 marathon bombings lead by Vice-President Joe Biden, observing a moment of silence and raising the US flag exactly one year after the attacks.