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Chicago area responds to Boston Marathon bombings

The Chicago area is reacting and responding to the bombings at the finish line of the Boston Marathon.

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Co-publisher Steve Alexander of book “If Not For The Perfect Stranger: Heartwarming And Healing Stories Of Kindness From The 2013 Boston Marathon,” joins WGN Morning News

There is new information Thursday night about the bombing at the Boston Marathon. You’ve probably heard reports that the suspects were heading to New York City to party– turns out they had much more on their minds.

We also now know how their plans started to unravel, when they realized the Mercedes SUV they’d carjacked didn’t have enough gas to make it to Manhattan.

As bad as Boston was, investigators say the suspects wanted more.

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg said “Last night we were informed by the FBI that the surviving attacker revealed that New York City was next on their list of targets.

New York City Police Commissioner Ray Kelly said   “We learned through the joint terrorist task force that the Boston Marathon bombers had planned to travel to Manhattan to detonate their remaining bombs in Times Square.”

Police say the brothers Tsarnaev had six improvised explosive devices left and a spontaneous plan to use them.

In Dagestan, meantime, the Tsarnaev’s mother, Zubeidat, tells reporters she believes the bombing was faked, “There was like paint instead of blood.”

Reports have surfaced that both the CIA and FBI had been asked by Russian authorities to investigate the elder brother in 2011, before he went to Russia for a six month visit last year, prompting debate on Capitol Hill. Many republicans are blasting the administration.

South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham (R) said “Boston is becoming to me a case study in system failure.”

While California Rep. Adam Schiff (D) said “Some are racing to say that the FBI dropped the ball or the agencies weren’t talking to each other. Now that just doesn’t seem to be the case.”

Badly injured survivors are now just beginning to heal. 38-year-old Heather Abbott had one leg amputated below the knee.

“I felt like my foot was on fire, I couldn’t stand up,” she said.

Boston Marathon runner Tommy Cornille said “These people are gonna adapt and relearn a little bit, there’s gonna be that process.

Tommy, a Chicagoan, was about a half-mile behind Heather, nearing the end of the race, when the bombs went off. He was running on this prosthetic; born missing his right leg below the knee. And he wants the injured to know: it all gets better.

“There’s no limits– there’s no physical limits,” he said, “They don’t have any; there’s nothing.”

This year was Tommy’s first time running the Boston Marathon. He’s run the Chicago Marathon twice and hopes to be at Boston next year.

But for now, he’s thinking of those who were watching and running just ahead of him and what some of them are still going through.

Boston will observe a moment of silence at 1:50 p.m Monday Chicago time, the exact moment the first bomb went off during last Monday’s Marathon. The week after the Boston Marathon bombing

Hundreds gathered Sunday at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross to mourn the three bombing victims, as well as MIT police officer Sean Collier, who died in Thursday’s shootout with the bombing suspects.

Sean Cardinal O’Malley led the service; he says he opposes the death penalty for the surviving suspect.

The Chicago Police Department is sending five detectives and one sergeant to Boston Friday to help in the ongoing investigation surrounding the bombings at the Boston Marathon and related overnight incidents.

The Chicago officers are heading there at the request of Boston Police Commissioner Ed Davis.

Earlier this week, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Chicago Police Superintendent Garry F. McCarthy offered their counterparts assistance as needed.

FBI expert Chris Kerr gives his thoughts on the ongoing investigation in Boston.


The Unity Run is just three miles but it’s making a huge statement.

100 runners gather at the lakefront tonight to say to Boston “We are with you and we will continue to support you.”

The Chicago Area Runners Association hosted the run as a way to honor those who were hurt or died in the Boston Marathon bombing.

The group invited local runners to join the event through a Facebook, which reads in part: “In the spirit of the running community, CARA will be hosting a Unity Run this evening at Foster Avenue Beach House, at 6 p.m. that was initiated by one of our members. We invite all runners to join us and run in honor of those who lost their lives and who were injured during this tragic ordeal.”

Chicago runners are determined to not let the explosions in Boston rattle them. But they will stay extra vigilant during races.  Organizers of a 10 mile lakefront race this weekend are going over every procedure and making sure runners feel safe.

In the wake of the bombings at the Boston Marathon, new security questions are being raised about the risk of similar attacks at other major events around the country.

Taste of Chicago and Lollapalooza are just two local events which draw huge crowds to Chicago.

Local authorities say there is no known credible threat here in Chicago.

So-called ‘soft targets’ like Chicago’s lakefront festivals and concerts draw thousands of people and are difficult to police.

However, security personnel in the region are taking precautionary measures and say the public plays a critical role in that process. “It is incumbent on all of us — private residents, law enforcement, fire service, etc. to be vigilant, be aware and communicate with one another,” said Michael Maters the Executive Director of Cook County Homeland Security.

Local runners return from Boston, recount ordeal

Wrigley Field personnel are increasing security measures at tonight’s game in light of the Boston Marathon bombings.

Chicago police will have a canine unit outside Wrigley and all garbage cans outside have been removed.  Also, a “stepped up” police presence will be in place.
A spokesperson for the Chicago Cubs said in a statement, “We are running at normal operations but there are some security enhancements we will make for the remaining games this homestand.

All ballpark personnel will operate with a heightened awareness. If anything looks suspicious, personnel are directed to notify supervisors.”

Talking about the bombings in Boston can be difficult for adults and even harder for children.
Pediatric psychologist from Lurie Children’s Hospital Colleen Cicchetti offers advice to help parents talk to their children about yesterday’s tragedy.

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