TOPICS > World

FBI Releases Photos of Boston Blast Suspects, Asks for Help From Public

April 18, 2013 at 12:00 AM EST
The FBI released pictures and video of two suspects who may have planted a device at the site of the explosion near the finish line of the Boston Marathon. Jeffrey Brown talks with David Boeri of WBUR Public Radio about how investigators have combed through thousands of tips so far.
LISTEN SEE PODCASTS

TRANSCRIPT

JEFFREY BROWN: And to the latest on the Boston bombing.

Just a short time ago, the FBI held a news conference. Agent Richard DesLauriers said they have gathered and analyzed thousands of tips and come up with images of two persons of interest, suspects who may have planted devices near the finish line of the marathon.

Here’s an excerpt.

SPECIAL AGENT IN CHARGE RICHARD DESLAURIERS, FBI: Today, we are enlisting the public’s help to identify the two suspects.

After a very detailed analysis of photo, video and other evidence, we are releasing photos of these two suspects. They are identified as suspect one and suspect two. They appear to be associated. Suspect one is wearing a dark hat. Suspect two is wearing a white hat.

Suspect two set down a backpack at the site of the second explosion just in front of the Forum restaurant.

We strongly encourage those who were at the Forum restaurant who have not contacted us yet to do so. As you can see from one of the — from one of the images, suspects one and two appear to be walking together through the marathon crowd on Boylston Street in the direction of the finish line.

That image was captured as they walked on Boylston in the vicinity of the intersection with Gloucester Street. As you can see, the quality of the photos is quite good, but we will continue to work on developing additional images to improve their identification value.

Further, on FBI.gov, we have photos of the suspects. The photos and videos are posted for the public and media to use, review and publicize.

For clarity, these images should be the only ones — and I emphasize the only ones — that the public should view to assist us. Other photos should not be deemed credible and unnecessarily — and they unnecessarily divert the public’s attention in the wrong direction and create undue work for vital law enforcement resources.

For more than 100 years, the FBI has relied upon the public to be its eyes and ears. With the media’s help, in an instant, these images will be delivered directly into the hands of millions around the world.

We know the public will play a critical role in identifying and locating these individuals. Somebody out there knows these individuals as friends, neighbors, co-workers, or family members of the suspects.

Though it may be difficult, the nation is counting on those with information to come forward and provide it to us. No bit of information, no matter how small or seemingly inconsequential, is too small for us to see. Each piece moves us forward towards justice.

It is extremely important to contact us with any information regarding the identities of suspect one, suspect two, and their location. We consider them to be armed and extremely dangerous. No one should approach them. No one should attempt to apprehend them, except law enforcement.

Let me iterate that — reiterate that caution. Do not take any action on your own. If you see these men, contact law enforcement. If you know anything about the bombings or the men pictured here, please call the telephone listed on the photo arrays. That’s 1-800-CALL-FBI. Again, that’s 1-800-225-5324. All calls will be kept confidential.

We have also established a website for tips that directly relates to the bombing. Please contact — please contact us at bostonmarathontips.FBI.gov. Again, that website is Bostonmarathontips.FBI.gov.

The photos can be viewed on our website, FBI.gov.

It is important to emphasize the images from Monday are indelible and the horror of that day will remain with us forever.

JEFFREY BROWN: And once again tonight, we’re joined from Boston by David Boeri of WBUR Public Radio.

Well, David, that was quite an extraordinary news conference, no description of the suspects, other than the color of the hats they were wearing. They just decided to put it out there for the public.

DAVID BOERI, WBUR Public Radio: That’s right.

And this is an example, Jeff, if ever there was one, of narrowcasting. They didn’t make the description. They put it out there. They tell people they don’t want to know about anybody else, any other photographs or video, except that that pertains to these two.

It is an extraordinary technique, yet they want to know more. They want to know as much as they can find out about these two people. Tellingly, that video showing the two men together walking toward the finish line on Boylston has a time stamp on it of 2:37 in the afternoon. Just eight minutes later, the explosions took place.

JEFFREY BROWN: Now, we’re showing our audience the video. You had a chance to look at it earlier. But they said, if I heard it right, they had one suspect early on, yesterday, I think.

DAVID BOERI: Right.

JEFFREY BROWN: And then they took their time and then they found a connection to the second one. Tell us about that.

DAVID BOERI: Yes.

I mean, there is — you just played the press conference. And Mr. DesLauriers of the FBI took very few questions afterwards. So what he said was, we developed a first suspect. Then, as we were going along, we developed a second one.

Now, I think people will agree that suspect number two is much more identifiable. He has a goatee. He has that hat turned backwards. The logos, interestingly, on both hats are hard to see. And I think that’s because that’s video that’s been time-snapped to make photos of it, so it’s a little blurry.

But he is much more identifiable. I would say they’re in their mid-20s. Suspect — or profile number one is in shadows. He’s wearing the dark glasses, harder to see. It’s not clear whether he has any facial hair.

But that’s what they have. And the Forum is the restaurant next to the Starbucks which was just devastated at its front side by that explosion. So he wants — Mr. DesLauriers is asking anybody with any information from those places if they recognize these people to contact the FBI.

JEFFREY BROWN: And as best we know, the linkage between the two is really from — just that from that video of them walking together at one point?

DAVID BOERI: They’re associated together a couple of times. That’s right.

There is — you know, I do not think they know really who these people — they don’t know who these people are, it would seem. They have very little information about them. By the way, the interesting thing about Boston, though, is this idea of narrowcasting and broadcasting of photos have been very successful.

In 2011, on the 21st of June in 2011, the FBI released photographs of Catherine Greig, who was the associate of the notorious mobster fugitive James “Whitey” Bulger. That was on the 21st. Within, I would say, 36 hours of that broadcast, there was somebody in Santa Monica that said, we recognize her. And on the 23rd, Bulger and Greig were in custody.

So it’s an effective technique that’s been used by the FBI here before.

JEFFREY BROWN: Yes. I was wondering how unusual this was for them to go before this route. But you’re saying it has happened there before.

And as to the where the — do we know where these images came from exactly? It sort of goes to what you and I talked about the other night about the number of videos and photos that were coming in.

DAVID BOERI: Right.

They were looking for surveillance cameras. There was one surveillance camera high on a roof that was thought to be very critical here. It turns out that they didn’t come from there. So it’s not clear where they came from, very little information here.

What’s interesting to me, though, is yesterday was a day of complete confusion. The FBI made no statement. Nobody made any statement. I believe they had a photograph or some of this yesterday. They chose today to release them, after the president of course had been to Boston and left the city.

JEFFREY BROWN: David Boeri of WBUR, thank you once again.

DAVID BOERI: You’re welcome.