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CNN NEWSROOM

New Details in Boston Marathon Bombing; Over 170 People Injured in Boston Bombing; Police: Timing Device Likely Used; Terror to Strike Fear in People; Runner, 78, tells story.

Aired April 16, 2013 - 11:30   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


ERIN BURNETT, CNN ANCHOR: A bipartisan group of Senators called the Gang of Eight pushing its new proposal to reform immigration rules. Set to formally release the plan today but postponed due to Boston. Among other things, the bill calls for a 13-year path to citizenship for people who entered the United States before last year. Also calls for a quote, unquote, "secure border."

I also want to show you what happened to the markets. We are up 141 points. That's a bounce-back. I want to emphasize what happened yesterday the biggest one-day drop, a lot due to gold and broader market issues. After the Boston bombings the market dropped another 100-plus points. Investors today are, oh, there was a bit of relief that perhaps things could have been much worse and there was positive news in terms of the us economy.

It was supposed to be a day of joy and celebration for Massachusetts and Boston and people from 50 countries around the world, but it turned into one that will go down in infamy. Coming up, we'll explain how the attacks happened with the information we are gathering minute by minute. It may feel slow to you but the goal is to find out who did it and why, the number-one priority in the country.

Our special coverage continues after this.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MIKE MURPHY, BOSTON MARATHON BOMBING WITNESS: I thought I saw a child laying to left, and my wife didn't see that as she later told me, and I thought perhaps it was clothing or perhaps someone's limb because there was a man there missing a limb. But it -- it was surreal. And it was -- whoever did it was just the embodiment of evil.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: Embodiment of evil. But new details on the bombings near the finish line. An official with knowledge of the situation tells CNN, one of the two bombs was placed inside a metal pressure cooker that was in a backpack. Former FBI assistant director, Tom Fuentes, also tells us it could have minimized the damage of the explosive device.

The face you're seeing there, the boy who has become the face of the horrible act, 8-year-old Martin Richard, among three killed in the attack. He was running out to the finish line to congratulate his father. His mother and his sibling are currently getting medical treatment. And his father issued a statement thanking "family and friends, those we know and those we are never met for their thoughts and prayers. I ask that you continue to pray for my family as we remember Martin. We also ask for your patience and privacy as we work to simultaneously grieve and recover."

Boston area hospitals discharged at least 51 of the more than 170 wounded in the attack but many are fighting for their lives. Amputations performed last night.

Chris, as you know, some of those are touch and go. And as they have said, there could be serial operations required on some people over the next hours and days as they fight for their lives.

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: We're reporting on it because it's not over, Erin. We hear it from the families. Some families suffered more than one casualty. All of this, literally not even a day ago.

In the afternoon, to reset the scene. One of the busiest corners of the Boston Marathon, during the peak moment after the elite runners finished, four hours, about 10 minutes in, when the thick of the runners going to come.

John Berman has been carrying much of the reporting load here in Boston. He takes us through a tick-tock of what we know what happened and when. Take a look.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JOHN BERMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A picture-perfect Monday in April, Patriots Day, day of the 117th Boston Marathon. At 9:32 a.m., the elite women races are take off from Hopkinton on the 26.2 mile course on their way to Boston's Back Bay.

Almost two and a half hours later, the first elite runners start crossing the finish line, wave after wave of runners. Thousands of them follow. Then, about 2:50 in the afternoon, it happens --

(EXPLOSION)

BERMAN: -- an explosion near the finish line. 12 seconds later --

(EXPLOSION)

BERMAN: -- another explosion, about a block up a crowded Boylston Street.

JEFF CURTIS, WITNESS: They were banged up. Severe lacerations. Amputees. A lot of shrapnel. Pretty big explosions. There was a lot of blood everywhere.

BERMAN: Emergency teams and law enforcement scramble.

UNIDENTIFIED LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICER: Get all units in the city to this team now, please.

BERMAN: The investigation begins. Two hours late, Boston's police commissioner goes before the cameras.

ED DAVIS: POLICE COMMISSIONER, BOSTON POLICE DEPARTMENT: At 2:50 p.m., today, there were simultaneous explosions that occurred along the route of the Boston Marathon near the finish line the.

BERMAN: The governor urges the public to be cautious.

DEVAL PATRICK, (D), GOVERNOR OF MASSACHUSETTS: We are asking that people stay out of crowds and calmly make their way home for they're visiting, back to their hotels.

BERMAN: About an hour later, just after 6:00 p.m., the president appears in the White House briefing room.

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We're still in the investigation stage at this point. But I just want to reiterate, we will find out who did this and we will hold them accountable.

BERMAN: And shortly before 9:00, the FBI.

RICK DESLAURIERS, FBI SPECIAL AGENT IN CHARGE: The FBI is taking the lead in this investigation. It is asserting federal jurisdiction. It will be an ongoing investigation. It is a criminal investigation that is -- has potential, is a potential terrorist investigation.

BERMAN: And the Boston police commissioner sums up the sentiment of law enforcement.

DAVIS: This cowardly act will not be taken in stride. We will turn every rock over to find the people who are responsible for this.

BERMAN: John Berman, CNN, Boston.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

CUOMO: Thank you, John, for that piece.

We're engrossed in the investigation. What happens next? We're following the tribulations of the families fighting for their lives in the hospitals and seeing how this place will recover.

And yet, there's a question haunting many in this city and country right now. What does this mean? How do deal with this. Part of a terror act is the fear. You don't want to deal with it but it's almost inescapable. What do we do? How do we take what happened here and figure out what happens next? After the break, someone who can help answer that most difficult question.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MURPHY: We were so excited to be here, to the marathon to see our son run, and it -- it's -- it's a war zone.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: No matter who is responsible, it appears the act of terror at Boston Marathon was meant to inflict serious damage. But also, as any act of terror, it's not how many it's about whether it can succeed in striking fear into hearts of many, causing them not to congregate, not to live their lives as normal, not to live their lives in the free American way.

Psychologist Jeff Gardere joins me.

Jeff, let me ask you about this person, this person that did this. We don't know anything, whether they're American, foreign, we don't know what they were inspired or motivated by. But there's a lot you do know.

JEFF GARDERE, PSYCHOLOGIST & CNN CONTRIBUTOR: That's right. There's a common thread, whether international terrorist, domestic terrorist, someone with psychological issues. They do want to strike terror but more than anything else, disrupt the lives of everyone else. And they're trying to make a statement and that statement is based on rage. It's based on anger. And they want to know the world, they want the world to know that they're making the statement and they want to be heard, even though no one is taking credit as yet.

BURNETT: Right. And is that in and of itself, does that say something to you, this person has not said, hey, it's me?

GARDERE: Yes. What it tells me, from a psychological point of view someone who wants to someone who wants people to be uncomfortable. This is part of the terror. No one has come forward. We're used to that pattern and, therefore, people are still off, they don't know what to think, and in some way, that's where they have power over the rest of us.

BURNETT: What about the rest of us? What about the people who were there? Or the people who weren't there who may be afraid?

GARDERE: The most important thing for them to know is, it's OK to be afraid, but don't sit on that fear. Talk to other people about it. Acknowledge it, but try to live your life as best as you can, because then you thwart the goal of that terrorist. And we know that if you let that fear take over, it becomes a phobia, and then our lives are completely, at that point, side tracked or destroyed.

BURNETT: That would be victory.

GARDERE: Live your life.

BURNETT: All right. Jeff, thank you very much.

GARDERE: Thank you.

BURNETT: Live your life. Well, the chilling scene played over and over again. None of us, none of you watching, none of us, no one will ever forget the moment of the first blast where smoke was everywhere. And one man running near the finish line was knocked off his feet. That's that slow motion you have seen so many times. You know what? He got up and finished the race. And he talked. He's 78 years old. He's next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CUOMO: I'm Chris Cuomo here in Boston, continuing our coverage of the attacks at the Boston Marathon.

Sometimes there are moments that become meaningful in situations like there is. Certainly, the one we're about to show you is something you've seen and is so instructive of the symbolism of this event. The explosion goes off, an old man seems to get hit by a blast that knocks him off of his feet. But it became a moment not because Bill Iffrig, 78, fell down but because of what happened when he got up, and what he decided to do and what he decided to say.

He spoke to our Piers Morgan. Take a listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BILL IFFRIG, BOSTON MARATHON PARTICIPANT: Well, I was just approaching the last straightaway to the finish line and I had a good day and I'm feeling really good and I got down within about 15 feet of the finishing apron and this tremendous explosion, sounded like a bomb went off right next to me, and shockwaves hit my whole body and my legs just started jittering around. I knew I was going down. And I ended up down on the blacktop. And I didn't feel any severe pain but as I rolled over, I seen a little scratch on my leg but nothing too bad. So I layed there just momentarily. And one of the finishers, assistants come over and talked to me and asked me if there was anything they could do, and offered to get me a hand, help me get up and help me get over the finish line so I could complete my race. So we did that, and I felt OK. So I told them I was probably all right. He insisted on getting a wheelchair over there. So we started to do that, but then before they had one rounded up, I said, hey, I'm only -- my hotel is about six blocks away. I think I can make it OK. So they let me get out of there and I went on home to my wife.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: Certainly sport here transcended. It became just about the human spirit, about the attacks. And Mr. Iffrig really personalizes that and personifies it.

You know, who else thinks so? "Sports Illustrated." Their cover this week is Bill Iffrig. The headline is obvious, "Boston," and they're going to deconstruct it in their magazine, which is about sporting and sporting life.

But he means so much more, Erin, for him to get up and finish the race and speak with confidence about living his life. As the interview you just had said, that's what it is all about, right? BURNETT: It is what it is all about. Right after that interview finished, Jeff said we have to be like that man, you have to get up and finish the race, which I thought was a poignant way to talk about this.

Chris, of course, as you know, investigators are spending 100 percent of their efforts now to find the person or people because we still don't know if it was single or multiple behind the bombing. They're trying to look at personal photos and video. There is so much from that from regular people there at the finish line. Coming up, what you can do to help.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CUOMO: Chris Cuomo in Boston with the latest of CNN's team coverage of the attacks at the Boston Marathon.

Law enforcement this morning very clear that the early stages of their investigation asking anybody to come forward with video or pictures if they have it themselves or know someone else who may have it to help fuel this investigation.

So, our Tom Foreman did a story of what truth may be hidden in these photos.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): While public attention has focused largely on images of the twin explosions and their aftermath, investigators are more interested in this, the pictures of what happened before the blast.

DESLAURIERS: I think we're processing all the digital photographic evidence we possibly can right now as quickly as possible with resources from FBI headquarters, Quantico, and that's a priority of the investigation right now.

FOREMAN: A law enforcement official tells CNN, so far, investigators have found no surveillance video of anyone planting either bomb. But it is early. Investigators are still combing local businesses to collect all security camera videos for blocks around, and asking people along the route to hand over any and all digital images.

DAVIS: It is our intention to go through every frame of every video that we have to determine exactly who was in the area. This is probably one of most well-photographed areas in the country yesterday.

FOREMAN: Visitors to the city are also being asked to offer up their images from the event before they leave town.

JULIETTE KAYYEM, FORMER HOMELAND SECURITY ASSISTANT SECRETARY: There's a lot of questions going on Amtrak and now at Logan of people leaving, because everyone was there taking pictures. You may have seen someone.

FOREMAN (on camera): Before it is all done, investigators could wind up with tens or hundreds of thousands of still pictures and many, many hours of video. But the painstaking analysis of all those images is anchored on one hope -- that somewhere in all of that right now is a picture of the person or persons who planted the bombs.

Tom Foreman, CNN, Washington.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

CUOMO: That's the hope for investigators.

Our thanks to Tom Foreman.

They'll get some media, that they'll find something that will lead to who did this and why.

A lot of unanswered questions, Erin. I can't do a lot of reporting when I'm on television, so I'm going to get back out there and see what we can figure out, come back on later with it.

I'll give it over to you now, Erin.

BURNETT: Thank you, Chris. Of course, that's the thing. You've got to go out and find that information.

As news has come in about yesterday's horrific bombing, many turn to social media to show their support for the victims. Wearing race T- shirt, simple words of kindness, social media was where the nation and the world came together.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BURNETT: Want to show you the reaction that you all had and that's the reaction you saw on social media. People have been using it as a place to express their emotions about what happened yesterday and the attacks. One of the busiest places on Twitter has been #prayforBoston. This is a tweet that we felt represented what a lot of you felt happened yesterday still doesn't seem real. Shalen Harris said yesterday that's how it feels for her.

The Boston Red Sox wrapped up their annual Patriots Day game yesterday. A lot of people had flowed out from that game to celebrate at the finish line. Team star, David Ortiz, tweeted out a picture of the team's logo wrapped in a blue ribbon and said, "During hard times like this the stronger stays together and our nation is best at it."