- Created on 16 April 2013
Bernice A. King, chief executive officer of The King Center, made the following statement today about the bombings in Boston:
"I was shocked and saddened to learn of the bombings that have taken the lives of at least three people and injured at least 140 other people, including 8 children, in Boston. I ask everyone to pray for the victims of this violence and their families. We also pray for the day when these senseless acts of hatred and animosity will be a thing of the past. Although we don't yet know who was responsible for this latest act of brutality, all Americans must join together in condemning the epidemic violence that has caused so much pain and suffering. We must work together with ever-increasing resolve to eliminate the sick culture of violence and to create a nonviolent society where all people can live together as sisters and brothers in peace and security."
The latest news on the blasts, according to CNN, is that the bombings have injured 176, 17 critically. Motive remains unclear in the bombings, but uthorities will go to "ends of the earth" to identify those responsible, FBI agent says. An 8-year-old boy is among those who have been pronounced dead from the attack so far.
Although most of the 44 Boston Marathon bombing patients treated at two Brigham and Women's Hospital facilities appear to have been wounded by "ordinary debris," three were injured by "perfectly round objects" that were "a little bigger than a BB ... very uniform, consistent, metallic," said Ron Walls, chair of emergency medicine at the hospital. Another patient was injured with more than 12 carpenter-type nails, he said. "There is no question some of these objects were implanted in the device for the purpose of being exploded forward," Wall said.
- Created on 16 April 2013
Celebrities, dignitaries and community leaders gathered on "Sweet Auburn" on Sunday, April 14, from 2 to 4 p.m. to celebrate 100 years of the historic Odd Fellows Building.
The event featured an installation of photos and memorabilia, anecdotes from people who are especially familiar with the building, and a musical tribute, as well as hors d'oeuvres.
The phenomenal growth of Black enterprise in the post-Civil War period was typified by the "Sweet Auburn Historic District." The name Sweet Auburn was coined by John Wesley Dobbs and applies to Auburn Avenue, which was once called the "richest Negro street in the world."
The Odd Fellows Building is one of the most architecturally unique of the business structures along Auburn Avenue.
Constructed in 1912 and dedicated by Booker T. Washington, the building was local headquarters of the Atlanta Chapter of the Grand United Order of Odd Fellows, a fraternal organization founded in 1843 for African-American members.
It was one of the major Black entrepreneurial centers in America, with office space for Black doctors, dentists, and craftsmen in the tower, a 1,296 seat auditorium and an exquisite roof garden. It was the site of most of Black Atlanta's elegant dances and social functions during the 1920s and 1930s.
For example, the building once housed the Royal Peacock Club, one of the city's premier African-American music venues early in the 20th century. Originally named The Top Hat Club, the Royal Peacock Club officially opened its doors in 1938, hosting both local talent and national acts, including Cab Calloway, Louis Armstrong, Muddy Waters, B.B. King, the Four Tops, Ray Charles, James Brown, Sam Cook, Jackie Wilson, Little Richard, Aretha Franklin, The Supremes, Joe Lewis, Jackie Robinson, Otis Redding, Wilson Pickett, Ike and Tina Turner and Atlanta's own Gladys Knight.
It also housed the Yates and Milton Drugstore, where African-American teens gathered to sip sodas and eat ice cream.
The Odd Fellows is presently listed on the National Register of Historic Places. This six-story brick building is noted for the unique terra-cotta figureheads with their African features. These figures are located on opposite sides of the entrance and are clearly visible to the passerby or visitor.
A portion of all financial gifts for the invitation-only celebration will be donated to the Apex Museum for the continued preservation of the history and legacy of The Odd Fellows Buildings and Auburn Avenue. To learn more about their work, visit http://www.apexmuseum.org/.
- Created on 16 April 2013
Morehouse, Spelman Students to Hold Rally on Gun Violence With Mayors Group on Anniversary of Va. Tech Shootings
Students from Morehouse and Spelman Colleges will join Mayors Against Illegal Guns, an organization headed by New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Boston Mayor Thomas Menino, for a rally to honor the anniversary of the Virginia Tech shootings on Tuesday at 1 p.m.
The rally will take place in the Morehouse College African American Hall of Fame, located on the second floor of the Martin Luther King Jr. International Chapel. The students and gun safety advocates will call on Georgia Senator Saxby Chambliss to support the bipartisan Manchin-Toomey legislation that seeks to expand background checks throughout the country.
According to a release from Mayors Against Illegal Guns, the group is an organization created in April 2006 that is made up of both Democratic and Republican mayors and has grown from 15 members to more than 900 mayors from across the country.
Mayors Against Illegal Guns asserts that it has more than 1.5 million supporters, making it the largest gun violence prevention advocacy organization in the country.
The Morehouse and Spelman students and Mayors Against Illegal Guns organization will also be joined by Georgia State Senator Vincent Fort in their call for support of the Manchin-Toomey bill.
The bill, sponsored by U.S. Senators Joe Manchin (D-W.V.) and Pat Toomey (R-Pa.), has faced opposition in the Senate but made its way to the Senate floor for debate this week. Sen. Chambliss was one of more than a dozen Republicans who voted for a motion to proceed on the gun control bill. He was joined by Georgia's junior U.S. Senator Johnny Isakson.
Chambliss, however, has voiced opposition to the Manchin-Toomey bill, and has made it clear that he opposes the bill that is currently headed to the Senate floor.
The date of April 16 was chosen to commemorate the sixth anniversary of the Virginia Tech massacre. On April 16, 2007, Seung-Hui Cho, a senior at Virginia Tech, shot and killed 32 people and wounded 17 others in two separate attacks, and then turned the gun on himself and committed suicide. The massacre remains the deadliest shooting incident by a single gunman in U.S. history and the deadliest mass shooting on a college campus.
Mayors Against Illegal Guns stated goals are: protecting communities by holding gun offenders accountable; demanding access to crime gun trace data that is critical to law enforcement efforts to combat gun trafficking; and working with legislators to fix weaknesses and loopholes in the law that make it far too easy for criminals and other dangerous people to get guns. To learn more about Mayors Against Illegal Guns visit www.mayorsagainstillegalguns.org
- Created on 16 April 2013
In light of the bombing attack that struck the city of Boston near the finish line of the Boston Marathon, Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed released a statement on the events.
"My thoughts and prayers are with the City of Boston today and all those who have been affected by today's tragic events," he wrote. "I am deeply saddened to hear of the loss of life and injuries suffered by so many people. Here at home, the City of Atlanta's First Responders are currently taking additional measures to enhance the safety of our citizens and protect them from senseless acts of violence."
U.S. Sen. Saxby Chambliss, vice chairman of the U.S. Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, also gave a statement. He made the following statement regarding the Boston Marathon explosions:
"My prayers go out to the people of Boston, and especially to those who were killed or injured in today's attack. As the evidence mounts that this was a terrorist attack, our intelligence and law enforcement agencies must do whatever is necessary to find and interrogate those responsible so we can prevent similar attacks."
Two bombs struck Monday, turning a celebration into a bloody scene of destruction.
Boston Police Commissioner Ed Davis said Monday night that the death toll had risen to three. Scores were injured at the scene.
One of the dead was an 8-year-old boy, according to a state law enforcement source.
Hospitals reported at least 144 people are being treated, with at least 17 of them in critical condition and 25 in serious condition. At least eight of the patients are children.
At least 10 people injured had limbs amputated, according to a terrorism expert briefed on the investigation.
Doctors are "pulling ball bearings out of people in the emergency room," the expert said, suggesting the bombs were designed to propel shrapnel.
Several of the patients treated at Massachusetts General Hospital suffered injuries to lower limbs that will require "serial operations" in the coming days, trauma surgeon Peter Fagenholz said Monday night. Some injuries were so severe amputations were necessary, Fagenholz added.
In Washington, President Barack Obama vowed, "Any responsible individuals, any responsible groups, will feel the full weight of justice."
Boston "is a tough and resilient town," he said, adding that Americans will stand by Bostonians "every single step of the way."
'Like a huge cannon'
The terrorist attack, near the marathon's finish line, triggered widespread screaming and chaos, shattered windows and barricades and sent smoke billowing into the air at Copley Square.
The blasts were about 50 to 100 yards apart, officials said, on a stretch of the marathon course lined with spectators cheering runners through the final yards of a 26-mile, 385-yard endurance feat.
"It felt like a huge cannon," a witness told CNN about one of the blasts.
Allan Panter, a doctor who was near the finish line waiting for his wife to finish the race, told CNN he was standing about 20 to 25 feet from the first blast. He said he treated victims on the street after the explosion.
"I saw at least six to seven people down next to me," he said. "They protected me from the blast. One lady expired. One gentleman lost both his (lower) limbs. Most of the injuries were lower extremities."
Bill Iffrig, 78 and a veteran marathoner, was nearing the finish when "the shock waves just hit my whole body and my legs just started jittering around." Iffrig, who can be seen in video of the explosion wearing an orange tank top, was helped to his feet by an event volunteer and had just a scratch from his fall, he told CNN.
Federal authorities are classifying the bombings as a terrorist attack, but it's not clear whether the origin was domestic or foreign, a federal law enforcement official with knowledge of the investigation said.
A federal law enforcement official told CNN that both bombs were small, and initial tests showed no C-4 or other high-grade explosive material, suggesting that the packages used in the attack were crude explosive devices.
Another explosive device found
Authorities in Boston found at least one other explosive device that they were dismantling, Boston Police Commissioner Ed Davis said.
Rep. Bill Keating of Massachusetts, meanwhile, said two more were found.
One unexploded device was found at a hotel on Boylston Street near the bomb site and another unexploded device was found at an undisclosed location, Keating, a Democrat and member of the House Homeland Security Committee, said. He called the bombing a "sophisticated, coordinated, planned attack."
It was unclear who may have planted the marathon bombs. There were no credible threats before the race, a state government official said.
There is no suspect in custody, but many people are being questioned, Davis said.
Investigators warned police to be on the lookout for a "darker-skinned or black male" with a possible foreign accent in connection with the attack, according to a law enforcement advisory obtained by CNN. The man was seen with a black backpack and sweatshirt and was trying to get into a restricted area about five minutes before the first explosion, the lookout notice states.
Also, a Saudi national with a leg wound was under guard at a Boston hospital in connection with the bombings, but investigators cannot say he is involved at this time and he is not in custody, a law enforcement official said Monday evening.
In addition to scrutinizing images of surveillance cameras in the area, the FBI likely was issuing subpoenas for records from cell towers in the area to isolate and trace calls from around Copley Square at the time of the blasts, according to a former federal law enforcement official who now works in the intelligence community.
The unexploded devices that were recovered could provide a treasure trove of information such as fingerprints and indications of the bomb maker's design, and from the bombs that did explode, investigators would be looking for fragments and anything indicating the "signature" of the bomb makers, the official told CNN.
As authorities searched the scene, numerous suspicious packages were found, possibly because people fled the area, leaving items behind. Investigators were checking them.
All off-duty Boston police were called in.
The Marriott hotel at Copley Place was evacuated as a precaution.
The Lenox Hotel was also evacuated as a precaution, the Boston Globe reported.
Crowds were in the area watching the runners take part in the world's oldest annual marathon.
It was also Patriot's Day, commemorating the opening battle of the Revolutionary War.
Within seconds, the festive occasion turned into devastation.
"This is a horrific day in Boston," Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick said in a statement.
"My thoughts and prayers are with those who have been injured. I have been in touch with the president, Mayor (Thomas) Menino and our public safety leaders. Our focus is on making sure that the area around Copley Square is safe and secured. I am asking everyone to stay away from Copley Square and let the first responders do their jobs."
U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder spoke with FBI Director Robert Mueller and U.S. Attorney Carmen Ortiz, a Justice Department official said.
Holder has directed the full resources of the Justice Department to be deployed to ensure the matter is fully investigated, the official said.
The Federal Aviation Administration placed a flight restriction over the site of the blasts.
Other cities, including New York and Washington, tightened security as a result. Following standard protocol, the White House cleared out an area in front of the West Wing.
Mike Baingon, who works at the Atlantic Fish Company in Boston, said an explosion took place in front of the restaurant and that he was right by the front door at the time.
The explosions occurred at about 2:45 p.m., more than two hours after the first of the race's nearly 27,000 runners had crossed the finish line, CNN Producer Matt Frucci reported.
The race was halted as was subway service into the area.
Troops from the Massachusetts National Guard, already at the site as part of the marathon's security and crowd-management plan, were assisting police as well.
- Created on 15 April 2013
In response to the explosions in Boston, MARTA is exercising an abundance of caution and heightening security on the transit system. While at this time there are no credible threats to transit, MARTA is asking employees and customers to be vigilant and remain on high alert.
The MARTA Police Department (MPD) is working directly with federal, state and local agencies, including the Massachusetts Bay Transit Authority (MBTA) and the Transit Security Administration (TSA) in Washington, D. C. to stay updated on any recommendations related to public transit.
In addition, MARTA is in contact with the Georgia Emergency Management Agency (GEMA), the Atlanta-Fulton County Emergency Management Agency (AFCEMA) and our liaison to the FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTTF) to ensure that we receive any pertinent information that may impact MARTA operations.
MARTA is taking the following proactive measures:
· Deploying K-9 units to make additional patrols
· Placing all specialized units on standby for activation
· Increasing police presence
· Placing all MARTA staff on heighten alert for any suspicious activity
· Encouraging the public to 'See Something, Say Something' and immediately report any suspicious activity or unattended packages to a MARTA Police officer or employee or call MPD at 404-848-4911
· Encouraging all customers to download the See & Say App (available at www.itsmarta.com)
· Maintaining communication with local emergency management offices
· Maintaining communication with FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTTF)
· Preparing MARTA Homeland Security protocols and procedures for activation if necessary