As first reported by CNN, investigators have identified a suspect in the Boston Marathon bombings. Surveillance video, including recordings from the Lord and Taylor department store cameras, have helped investigators spot a man leaving a backpack. But as of 2:33 PM ET Thursday, there has been a lot of confusion over who that suspect is and whether or not an arrest has been made. Boston Police issued a definitive tweet:
Despite reports to the contrary there has not been an arrest in the Marathon attack.
Updated 5:08PM ET, 4/17/13: Multiple sources report that the Federal Courthouse has been reopened after evacuation.
Man waving green flag to declare Boston courthouse open twitter.com/AdamGabbatt/st…
A press conference scheduled for 5PM ET by the U.S. Attorney's office has been postponed:
CLARIFICATION: US Attorney's office said the press conference is postponed. It's not clear if officials will meet with press later today.
Updated 3:55PM ET, 4/17/13: Several sources are reporting that the Federal Courthouse was evacuated due to a bomb threat. ABC had reported that the building was cleared, but clarified as of 3:49 PM ET.
UPDATE: Boston Police Dept now saying Federal courthouse in Boston still not officially cleared abcn.ws/17GoUZa
Ryan Broderick of BuzzFeed has reported that the bomb threat was initiated by a member of the online community 4Chan. Broderick tweeted a picture of what appears to be a threat on one of the site's message boards, though the links are too small to read and verify.
4chan claims they called in the Boston Bomb Threat twitpic.com/ck1wkw
Note that this report is currently from a single source. 4Chan does not appear to have confirmed via any of its official Twitter channels. Earlier today, the Atlantic Wire reported members of the 4Chan community have been actively seeking the bomber, and that one claimed on reddit.com to have tracked down a suspect. Many members of the community have posted a number of photos to an imgur site called 4Chan Think Tank.
The speed of information being spread has led to a lot of conflicting reports about whether a suspect had been taken into custody or not, and also about who the alleged bomber might be. While the Associated Press had confirmed the arrest, other networks were refusing to speculate.
Another point of controversy: CNN's John King announced that the suspect was a "dark-skinned male," leading to heated debates on Twitter about whether that description was needed or even accurate. Notably, PBS's Gwen Ifill jumped into the social media debate, with a tweet that was recirculated over 500 times.
Disturbing that it's OK for TV to ID a Boston bombing suspect only as "a dark-skinned individual."
.@pbsgwen What's wrong with disclosing those details? If that's what law enforcement told them, nothing disturbing or unethical about it.
#CNN reporter:'Don't want to inflame tensions,I've been told a suspect has been identified as a"dark skin male"'.Then why rept unconfirmed?
Fox News has just posted overnight poll on Boston bombings: 62% think "homegrown terrorists" were responsible.foxnews.com/politics/2013/…
April 17, 2013 - Boston, Massachusetts, U.S - Flowers lay on a Boston street corner to remember those injured and killed in the Boston Marathon bombing on Wednesday, April 17, 2013 just blocks from the bombing site. President Obama will visit Boston on Thursday, April 18, 2013. (Image: © Ken Crane/ZUMAPRESS.com)
We will continue to monitor the situation and post updates as they become available.
Are you following the coverage of the Boston Marathon investigation? What do you think of the information coming out? Is the pace of social media and the 24-hour news cycle helping or hurting coverage of the investigation?
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