Americans woke up to the news Friday that one of the Boston marathon bombing suspects was dead, and that the metropolitan area was virtually shut down as law enforcement pursued the second.
Mass transit, school, universities and courts were closed Friday, according to the Boston Police website, and law enforcement encouraged all residents to stay indoors.
The suspects’ photos were released during a FBI press conference Thursday evening, and by Friday were identified by family and law enforcement as Dzhohkar and Tamerlan Tsarnaev, originally from the Chechnya region of Russia. Overnight, the brothers were believed to have killed a MIT university police officer, stolen a motor vehicle and robbed a convenience store. Tamerlan, 26, died after a police chase. Dzhohkar, 19, was apprehended Friday night. .
Hernando Today sought out Massachusetts natives and former Boston residents living in the county and asked readers to contribute their reactions.
Derrik Amaral, 28, now of Spring Hill, said about half of his family lived in Florida and the rest in his native New Bedford, Mass., about 60 miles south of Boston.
“It’s just shocking, very shocking, unbelievable,” Amaral said. “There are no words to describe the events happening up north, you don’t expect that to happen to you hometown.”
Amaral said he believed Bostonians need to stay strong to overcome the attack and tragedy, and called upon President Obama’s speech at a memorial service Thursday. Obama invoked the words of 8-year-old Martin Richard, who was killed by the blasts while watching the runners on Monday.
“Don’t hurt anyone, make peace,” Amaral said. “It’s touching and I think people need to follow that.”
Carol Levesque of Brookridge said that she worked in Boston for 27 years, but hasn’t lived in Massachusetts for the past 16 years.
“All I can do is pray,” Levesque said, adding she was “touched” by Boston Bruins fans on Tuesday who stood up and sang along to the Star Spangled Banner and waved American flags.
Denise Moloney, public information officer from the Hernando County Sheriff’s Office, said Thursday’s LifeSouth blood drive at the office was planned in advance, but 23 employees, including Sheriff Al Nienhuis, decided to donate due to the recent events,