BOSTON, MASS. - An ECU student was among the thousands of runners taking part in the Boston Marathon, when a pair of explosions erupted near the finish line, killing at least three people and injuring dozens of others.
Quinn Woodruff is an Eden, N.C. native who goes to ECU's dental school. He said he had finished the race and was riding in a cab, when the blasts occurred on Boylston St. shortly after 3 p.m. According to the latest reports, at least three people were killed, including an 8-year-old boy. Police said at least 134 people are injured; 15 in critical condition.
"[I was] kind of in a state of shock," Woodruff told NewsChannel 12. ""You're happy you finished the marathon and did well, then you see [the explosions]. It just kind of puts [things] in perspective."
Woodruff said he went to Boston with his parents to take part in the marathon. None of them were injured.
Meanwhile, NewsChannel 12 also learned that two runners from New Bern participated in the Boston Marathon as well: Lucien Vaughn and Donald Spingler. Vaughn's son said both men are unharmed.
According to law enforcement sources, the first blast was at the Marathon Sports running store before 3 p.m., and blew out windows in four nearby buildings, injuring 15 to 20 individuals. About 10 second later, a second explosion occurred, severely injuring more bystanders, police said.
Authorities said they believe the blasts were caused by small portable devices.
In addition to the two people killed, at least 86 people were injured, police said. According to a trauma nurse from Massachusetts General Hospital, medical workers had set up a temporary morgue at a medical tent and were treating patients with severed limbs and children with severe burns.
Boston EMS personnel could be seen shuttling the injured out of the blast area on wheelchairs. Several of the victims were bleeding from the face.
A doctor who was in the medical tent, about 150 yards away from the explosion, at the time said it looked like a "warzone," with "lots of blood," and said that all physicians were told to go to the scene and help the injured.
Boston police set off a third explosion before 4 p.m. and were sweeping the area, checking dozens of bags left behind by evacuated runners. Officials are also testing for chemicals to help determine what kind of device was used, according to police.
Attorney General Eric Holder was in touch with the FBI in Boston and President Obama was notified of the blasts. All of Boston's police force was ordered to report to duty.
In Boston, police have told people in area to avoid trash cans, according to witnesses.
The explosions erupted on what is usually a festive day in Boston. It is designated Patriots Day and most offices are closed for the celebration and the marathon.
Debris from the explosions could be seen scattered throughout the spectators stands and finish line area of the marathon, as emergency personnel cleared the area.
Video of the explosions showed plumes of white smoke pouring into the air above the street where runners were.
More than 26,00 runners were registered to compete in this year's marathon. The marathon clock was at about four hours at the time of the explosions, which is the average time it takes runners to complete the Boston race, potentially putting the greatest number of competitors at risk.
Security precautions were taken elsewhere beyond Boston. In Washington, D.C., Pennsylvania Ave. in front of the White House has been closed to pedestrians and there is heightened security.