President Obama and the first lady attended an interfaith service in Boston today dedicated to the victims of the marathon explosions, while federal investigators were trying to uncover the identity of a person captured in surveillance videos at the site of one of the bombs.
In his remarks at the service, President Obama said the city of Boston “will run again.”
“Because that’s what the people of Boston are made of,” he said. “Your resolve is the greatest rebuke to whoever committed this act.”
In paying tribute to Lu Lingzi, 23, Krystle Campbell, 29, and 8-year-old Martin Richard who were all killed by the bombings, Obama said of Martin: “His last hours were as perfect as an 8-year-old boy could hope for, with his family eating ice cream at a sporting event.”
“Every one of us has been touched by this attack on your beloved city. Every one of us stands with you,” the president said. “Because after all, it’s our beloved city too.”
The crowd at Boston’s historic Cathedral of the Holy Cross also heard from Boston Mayor Thomas Menino and Gov. Deval Patrick. Patrick roused the crowd when he said “Massachusetts invented America” and urged the people of his state not to allow the attack to shatter their civic values.
“We will recover and repair. We will grieve our losses and heal, we will rise and we will endure,” Patrick said. “We will have accountability without vengeance, vigilance without fear.”
“The grace this tragedy exposed is the best of who we are,” he said.
As the Boston ceremony unfolded, CNN and correspondent John King were under attack for erroneously reporting yesterday afternoon that a “dark-skinned male” was a possible suspect in the bombing.
“I want to be very careful about this, because people get very sensitive when you say these things,” King said on the air. “I was told by one of these sources who is a law enforcement official that this was a dark-skinned male.”
The National Association of Black Journalists released a statement calling King’s physical description “offensive,” while MSNBC host Rev. Al Sharpton called it “shameful.”
There was other erroneous reporting yesterday, as several news organizations reported there was a suspect in custody who was about to be transported to the federal courthouse in Boston. After crowds had gathered there, authorities later said no arrest had been made.
Sifting through hundreds of hours of video taken from news, organizations, retail stores and restaurants near the bombing site, authorities believed they identified someone putting a black backpack near the finish line that fits the description of the nylon materials believed to be part of the bomb.
Investigators have said the bombs were assembled from household pressure cookers, a crude but effective explosive that has been thwarted in several prior U.S. terror plots.
Authorities said they found a pressure-cooker lid that was believed to have been part of a bomb on the roof of a nearby building, where it possibly was catapulted, and they also found a small piece of a circuit board they suspect was part of one of the explosive devices.
Government officials were quick to point out the person identified in the video could be unconnected to the attack — in the 2010 failed bombing in Times Square investigators urged the public to help identify a person wearing a red shirt seen in a video leaving the scene, but that person it turned out had nothing to do with the incident.
Kenneth Feinberg, who administered the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund and the BP oil spill fund, yesterday was asked by Gov. Patrick and Mayor Menino to distribute $7 million in funds, received without solicitation,that would assist victims of the bombings, called the One Fund Boston.
Feinberg said he would distribute money quickly and give priority to families of the dead.