Two young men, armed with guns and explosives in what appeared to be backpacks, engaged in a violent standoff with dozens of police on a street in Watertown, Mass., Thursday night, police and residents said.
The New York Times
The police said there was a strong possibility that the standoff in Watertown was linked to the fatal shooting of a campus police officer at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Thursday evening.
Police officers blocked off the scene of a shooting at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, Mass.
Two residents of Laurel Street said they heard what sounded like firecrackers going off shortly before midnight. When they looked out of their windows, they saw two young men taking cover behind a black Mercedes sport utility vehicle, in a shootout with dozens of police about 70 yards away. A transit police officer was shot, said a police spokesman, Dave Procopio, and was in serious condition.
Mr. Procopio said there was a strong possibility that the incident was linked to the fatal shooting of a campus police officer at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology earlier Thursday. The chaos that descended on the residential neighborhood around Laurel and Dexter Streets came as Watertown and the rest of the Greater Boston area were still reeling from Monday’s bombings at the Boston Marathon that killed three and wounded more than 170.
Andrew Kitzenberg, 29, said he looked out of this third floor window to see two young men of slight build in jackets engaged in “constant gunfire” with police officers. A police SUV “drove towards the shooters,” he said, and was shot at until it was severely damaged. It rolled out of control, Mr. Kitzenberg said, and crashed into two cars in his driveway.
The two shooters, he said, had a large, unwieldy bomb. “They lit it, still in the middle of the gunfire, and threw it. But it went 20 yards at most.” It exploded, he said, and one of the two men ran toward the gathered police officers. He was tackled, but it was not clear if he was shot, Mr. Kitzenberg said.
The explosions, said another resident, Loretta Kehayias, 65, “lit up the whole house. I screamed. I’ve never seen anything like this, never, never, never.”
Meanwhile, the other young man, said Mr. Kitzenberg, got back into the SUV, turned it toward officers and “put the pedal to the metal.” The car “went right through the cops, broke right through and continued west.”
The two men left “a few backpacks right by the car, and there is a bomb robot out there now.” Police had told residents to stay away from their windows, he said.
At least two people, one of whom appeared to be a police officer and the other a man in handcuffs were taken from the scene in ambulances, said a Dexter Street resident who declined to give his name.
Mr. Procopio, the police spokesman, told reporters that one suspects was being taken to an area hospital and another is “on the loose.” Explosives were involved, he confirmed, and bomb disposal units were active. When asked about links to Monday’s bombings at the Boston Marathon, he said, “We’re investigating that, and the F.B.I. is investigating that,” but there was no confirmation of a link.
an FBI spokesman in Boston, Martin Feely, said, “We are engaged with our partners trying to determine if there is a connection.”
“The situation is fluid,” Mr. Feely added.
The F.B.I. early Friday released new images of the two young men being sought in the marathon bombings, as part of a campaign to identify them.
The incident in Watertown came just minutes after a third explosion of violence in Boston — a campus police officer was shot and killed at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
The officer, who was not publicly identified, had responded to a report of a disturbance near Vassar and Main Streets, Middlesex County District Attorney Michael Pelgro said in a statement early Friday. He was found, the statement said, with “multiple gunshot wounds” and taken to Massachusetts General Hospital where he was pronounced dead.
At the campus, helicopters whirred overhead, and police cars were dotted through the streets. A crime scene was cordoned off, and at least one canine unit was on the scene.
Jess Bidgood, Joan Nassivera, Anastasia Economides, and Jeremy Zilar contributed reporting.