Boston Strong

In this exclusive excerpt from Dave Wedge and Casey Sherman’s forthcoming book—recently picked up by 20th Century Fox—the authors recount the harrowing and heroic stories of Boylston Street’s first responders.

photograph by Charles Krupa/associated press

photograph by Charles Krupa/associated press

Boston police detective Sergeant Danny Keeler had spent much of the early afternoon walking up and down Boylston Street popping in and out of various bars and restaurants, including Abe & Louie’s and McGreevy’s, to monitor crowd control.

“What’s your head count?” he’d ask the doorman. “Make sure you keep it at 50 and below. If we come back and it’s like that, you won’t have any problems with us.”

Keeler was walking alone across Gloucester Street when he heard and saw the first explosion. His initial reaction was similar to others who had witnessed the blast.

“I thought a transformer had let loose,” Keeler recalls.

Just over a year earlier, the Back Bay section of Boston had been plunged into darkness when a 115,000-volt transformer exploded at a garage on Scotia Street, close to the finish line.

Keeler immediately began running toward the smoke and noise emanating from Marathon Sports. The area was still choked with people. If it was a transformer explosion, someone was likely hurt. His time in the U.S. Marines and his years on the police force had trained Keeler to be instinctive. He had also been trained to run in the direction of trouble—not away from it.

“In 13 years in homicide, I’ve been involved in a lot of shootings. I’ve seen a lot of chaos,” Keeler says. “But I firmly believe that God put me there that day.”

He had reached Fairfield Street when suddenly he heard another devastating blast—this time coming from behind him. He turned around immediately and could see another large cloud of smoke, followed by the sound of ear-piercing screams.

This ain’t no transformer fire, he thought to himself. We’re getting bombed.

Since he was closer to the second explosion, Keeler decided to double back down Boylston Street to the scene at Forum. There was panic everywhere. People were turning over tables outside restaurants and running in every direction. Keeler tried to wade through the waves of fleeing spectators, but it was impossible. He jumped off the sidewalk and approached the middle of the street when he got his first glimpse of true devastation.

“I saw a leg lying on the street. It was on fire.”

The charred body part looked like a log that had been tossed atop a fire pit.

Keeler grabbed his radio. “This is Delta 984. I’ve got multiple bombs at the finish line. I need some help down here.”

He requested that Ring Road, adjacent to Boylston Street, be closed off immediately.

“Ring Road’s gonna be our evac route. I need you to shut it down at Huntington [Avenue] for MOP [Mobile Operations], I want that clear. I need the lanes cut clear for the fire department.”

Keeler’s first thought was to get the victims away from the scene and to the hospital as quickly as possible.

Three officers ran up to Keeler looking for guidance—looking for orders.

“Danny, what do you need from me?” asked Boston Police Captain Frank Armstrong.

“I need you to keep these lanes clear [near the bombing scene],” Keeler told him. “Don’t have the fire department come in here and drop their trucks anywhere. Keep these lanes clear.”

Keeler ordered the others to gain control of the bombing scenes in front of Forum and Marathon Sports. Meanwhile, other Boston police officers at and around the finish line began calling into dispatch asking for additional help.

“The only one I want to hear from is 984,” the police dispatcher ordered. “984’s got the channel.”

At that moment, Detective Sergeant Danny Keeler took command of the biggest crime scene in the history of the city.


Keeler’s boss, police commissioner Ed Davis, had watched the marathon for about an hour with Governor Deval Patrick and other VIPs before heading back to his house in Hyde Park, where he dropped off his wife and joined a conference call with Vice President Joe Biden and top cops from other big cities to discuss a controversial gun bill making its way through Congress. Both Davis and Mayor Tom Menino were at the forefront of a national gun reform package backed by Biden and President Barack Obama. Davis took the call in his bedroom. It lasted 45 minutes.

As soon as he hung up with the vice president, Davis’s phone rang. It was his second in command, Boston Police Superintendent-in-Chief Dan Linskey.

“Hey, boss, I don’t know what we’ve got; there are two explosions at the finish line.”

“What kind of explosions?” Davis asked.

“I don’t think they’re electrical in nature,” Linskey replied.

Davis has had extensive international training regarding the use of IEDs (improvised explosive devices), bombs, and other methods of terrorist attacks. After the subway bombings in London in 2005, which killed 52 people and injured more than 700 more, Davis spent time with Scotland Yard officials and studied the attack—all the while thinking of the uncanny similarities between that city’s mass transit system and Boston’s MBTA. Immediately, the fact that there were two explosions had Davis concerned that it could be a coordinated attack like so many he’d seen internationally. “I was hoping it was a manhole explosion, but I didn’t like the sound of it,” Davis later recalled.

“Are you there?” Davis asked Linskey.

“No, I’m in Kenmore Square. I’m racing up there now. Making my way up there now.”

Davis could hear sirens in the background and police radios blaring. He didn’t have his portable radio with him, so he asked Linskey, “What are they saying on the radio?”

“It’s Danny Keeler. I can’t understand him,” Linskey replied.

Davis knew the detective sergeant well. He also knew Keeler was a Marine and was alarmed by the fact that something could rattle the veteran cop. This had to be serious.

“Keeler’s calling for all the ambulances in the city, and he says he’s got multiple amputations,” Linskey said.

It was then that Davis knew Boston had been attacked. And knowing that such attacks often occur in threes, his attention immediately turned toward protecting his officers and the public from a possible third bomb. The bomb squad had been dispatched, and officers were boldly checking each and every one of the hundreds of bags discarded on bloody Boylston Street by terrified bystanders.

The commissioner’s next call was to Rick DesLauriers, special agent in charge of Boston’s FBI office. He called for the FBI’s bomb squad, also known as the Explosive Ordnance Disposal Team (EOD), as well as all SWAT units.

“All right, I’m on my way,” said Des Lauriers, who was at the FBI’s headquarters at One Center Plaza across from Boston City Hall.
“We are going to set up a command post at Ring Road; see me at Ring Road,” Davis told him.

Davis ended the call, grabbed his service weapon, and headed for the door of his home.

“What’s going on?” asked his wife.

“We may have been attacked,” he said in full stride. “Turn on the TV and I’ll call you when I can.”

The tires on Davis’s vehicle screeched as he pulled out of his driveway. He dialed Massachusetts State Police Colonel Timothy Alben and asked him to send all available units, especially the bomb squads and SWAT teams, to Boylston Street. The commissioner switched the radio in his SUV to a special frequency used for mass-casualty events. He heard multiple calls for ambulances. Radio chaos. Not quite panic, but as close to it as he’d seen in his decorated career.

His next call was to Mayor Menino in the hospital.

“Mr. Mayor, we’ve got a situation,” Davis told him. “There were two explosions at the marathon finish line.”

“Jesus, does it sound like a bomb?” the mayor asked.

“It’s not looking good, Mayor, but I’m not certain until I get there,” Davis said. “They were reporting multiple amputations, and that’s an indication that it was antipersonnel in nature. I’ll get back to you as soon as I can.”

“Good luck,” the mayor said.

Menino had been informed of the situation before the call from Ed Davis. Just before 3 p.m. that afternoon, one of the mayor’s security officers came in and told him, “A bomb just blew up at the marathon.”

“Get more, get more information,” the mayor told the cop. He then addressed his staff. “Let’s not get nervous. Everyone calm down.”

After talking with Davis on the phone, Menino sent his chief of staff, Mitchell Weiss, out to the command post near the finish line to get a read on exactly what was going on.


The scene back on Boylston Street resembled a war zone. Firefighter Phillip Skrabut, of Engine 17, District 7 in Dorchester, was assigned to work between Dartmouth and Exeter streets, near the finish line at Boylston Street. He was about 500 feet behind the finish line walking toward the grandstands when the first bomb went off.

“I saw the blast and then saw a crowd of people fall to the ground,” Skrabut wrote in a report.

When he heard the second explosion, he ran up the sidewalk under the grandstand toward Exeter Street, then crossed the street to the bombing site. Police and marathon volunteers were already tearing the barriers away, so Skrabut jumped onto the sidewalk, where he found at least a dozen severely injured people on the ground.

“I went to the closest victim to me,” he said. He came across a high school student, Sydney Corcoran, of Lowell, who had been watching the marathon with her mother, Celeste, and father, Kevin. The raven-haired teenager was lying on the ground, conscious and crying. She had a massive shrapnel wound to her right thigh with arterial bleeding.

Another firefighter handed Skrabut an orange scarf, which he tied above the wound as a tourniquet. He also applied direct pressure to try to stop the bleeding. A spectator who said he was a Marine came over and asked how he could help.

“I had him place his hands where mine were and told him to squeeze as hard as he could,” Skrabut wrote. “If not for him, I would have had to stay and hold pressure on her leg,” Skrabut wrote. “His actions no doubt kept her from bleeding to death.”

He then moved to another victim, a middle-aged man who was conscious and was trying to get up. He appeared to have a broken right leg and multiple shrapnel wounds to the face and body, but no life-threatening injuries. “Calm down, sir, and try to breathe normally,” Skrabut told him.

“Lay still until help arrives.”

He then turned to a woman in her late twenties or early thirties. She had a severely deformed lower left leg with a blast wound and an open leg fracture. Her right foot was twisted inward, and her ankle joint was exposed. It was a horrific injury. He grabbed her left leg above and below the wounds and held her. A marathon runner arrived.

“I believe he had a medical background because he immediately took control of patient care, calling off her injuries very systematically and calmly,” Skrabut wrote.

It was the firefighter who then began taking directions from the civilian. The marathoner asked him for gauze, so Skrabut gave him a roll from his medical pouch.

“Straighten her left leg and wrap the wound,” the marathoner told Skrabut. He then did the same with her right ankle and foot. The marathoner then instructed the firefighter to lift her legs, and he wrapped her hips and legs together so she could be moved. She was put on a backboard, and Boston EMS came over with a stretcher and took her away.

The firefighter never got the name of the marathoner.

“But I am grateful for him to say the least,” he said.


Just before the bomb blasts, firefighter Doug Menard, a veteran of the Iraq war, was on roving patrol on the block bordered by Dartmouth, Boylston, and Exeter streets. He was on Exeter Street just past Marathon Sports heading toward Dartmouth Street when the first bomb went off. He was about 15 seconds away from the scene when the explosion occurred.

“The blast was enough to feel like someone kicked out the back of my knees, however I was able to catch my balance,” Menard wrote in a report. “I turned immediately and saw a rush of running wounded coming toward me through the smoke. I seemed to be the closest person to ground zero who didn’t have a scratch on me.”

Before he processed what was happening, he heard the second boom!

“D110 at the finish line. Multiple wounded. Secondary devices. Watch out,” Menard barked through the radio. He saw roughly 20 people with severe lower leg wounds on the pavement. As he surveyed the scene, he mentally “black tagged” one female—Krystle Campbell—who appeared “gray” and “didn’t look like she was going to make it.”

Campbell was a 29-year-old golden-haired native of Medford. She had been a top employee of celebrity chef Jasper White in his Summer Shack restaurants, sometimes working 70 to 80 hours per week managing the catering side of the business, which was quite extensive. She was the all-American girl who loved her friends and family. Krystle had taken care of her sick grandmother for nearly two years, and on the day of the marathon she was just a few weeks shy of her 30th birthday.

As Menard stood near Krystle, a mother grabbed his leg.

“She was covering her teenage daughter’s leg,” Menard wrote. He looked down at the girl’s leg and saw it was severed just below the knee. He found a cravat in his medical pouch and tied a tourniquet.

“The blood stopped and I moved on, even though the girl and her mother pleaded for me to stay,” he wrote. Everyone needed help.

A man next to them was on fire. He had smoke rising from his shoulders and his clothes were ablaze. Menard patted out the flames and checked him for wounds. He had deep cuts and shrapnel wounds to his back. His tattered shirt kept smoking from the “hot shrapnel” in his back.

A Boston cop arrived to help and kept patting out the smoking garments while Menard moved on to other wounded. He went back to Krystle Campbell, where another woman, who turned out to be her friend Karen Rand, was holding her hand. Karen and Krystle had come to the marathon to watch Karen’s boyfriend finish the road race. Menard noted that Karen’s lower leg was “blown apart.”

He didn’t have another cravat, but a runner sprinted over and handed the firefighter his running belt. Menard and the runner tied a tourniquet around her leg. A marathon volunteer handed him multiple rolls of gauze, which could also be used for tourniquets. Despite their efforts, Karen later lost the leg.

An EMT asked Menard to help cut off a patient’s clothing. As he assisted the medic, someone yelled for help inside Marathon Sports. He ran through the shattered front window of the store and found five injured people.

There were civilian doctors working on a woman in the doorway. Menard grabbed a gauze roll and put a tourniquet on the woman’s leg. The firefighter and a couple of civilians helped him drag the woman out of the store and onto the sidewalk so that EMTs could take her to the hospital. He then ran toward another firefighter who was working on a man with serious injuries. Menard helped his fellow firefighter put the man on a backboard, and they carried him to the medical tent in Copley Square.


Another Boston firefighter, Mike Foley, was busy saving lives in front of Forum. After the second blast, he hopped the barricade and came upon a man whose clothes were on fire. He also saw a woman and a child—later identified as Lingzi Lu and eight-year-old Martin Richard—lying on the ground. They were dead. Foley saw a severed foot on the ground next to the curb and felt nauseous. “The ground was dark—scorched from the explosion and covered with blood and tissue,” he recalls.

He came across a man with amputations, who was trying to sit up. Foley grabbed a strap from an EMT and fashioned a tourniquet to the man’s right thigh. He waved over a cop.

“Run to the engine and grab me a Stokes basket,” he hollered. A Stokes basket is a metal and plastic stretcher used to move patients. They lifted the man onto the basket and slid him into a waiting ambulance.

Foley ran back to the scene and helped an EMT load another severely injured patient onto a backboard, then carried him to an ambulance that had more room. He rushed back and helped EMTs load yet another patient into a police van. He gave another survivor oxygen and helped place her into the same police van.

He then helped direct trucks and ambulances to and from the scene before he was ordered to head back to Engine 33’s headquarters on Boylston Street to “take cover from a possible third device.”


Firefighter Adalberto Rodriguez thanked God that he had made the decision earlier that day to carry his medical bag. Patrolling the area between Hereford and Fairfield streets, he was keeping an eye out for dehydrated runners and spectators in need of assistance. He’d helped a few dehydrated folks that morning, as well as a couple of people with “flu-like symptoms,” but it was an otherwise uneventful day. That would soon change as he would be thrust into the chaos and tasked with helping rescue one of the most vulnerable of the marathon-day victims.

After the blasts, Rodriguez sprinted toward Forum, where he saw people tearing down metal partitions to get to the wounded. He helped a man with shrapnel in his legs. Rodriguez cut the man’s pants off and cleaned and wrapped his wounds. He was then directed to a little girl who’d lost her left leg—it was Jane Richard. The stunned firefighter held pressure on the arteries above the girl’s injury. He helped put her on a gurney, and the girl was taken away in an ambulance. His attention turned to the girl’s father, Bill Richard, who was holding his son Martin in his arms, wailing.

“Don’t let him die, don’t let him die!” the father cried.

Rodriguez’s heart ached at the sound of Bill Richard’s screams. He bent down and examined Martin’s injuries and was certain the boy was already gone. Still, he tried to calm the anguished dad as best he could, but Bill Richard was inconsolable.

Another boy suffering from severe leg lacerations was lying next to Martin. Rodriguez assumed it was the boy’s brother. But it wasn’t. It was 11-year-old Aaron Hern, a California boy who had been standing next to Martin at the time of the explosion. The same shrapnel that tore through Aaron’s leg had killed Martin. Tourniquets were tied around Aaron’s leg, and the boy was led to an ambulance. Rodriguez moved on to another victim.

His third patient was an adult male “with shrapnel all over his entire body.” The man had severe injuries to his left leg. Rodriguez quickly wrapped the man’s wounds to slow the bleeding and helped get him into a police van.

He ran back to the scene and saw EMTs giving CPR to a woman who lay motionless on the sidewalk. He later learned the woman was BU graduate student Lingzi Lu. Several people were tying tourniquets around her wounds, desperately trying to save the young Chinese woman. But Lu’s injuries were far too severe. She was bleeding out rapidly. Seconds later, she was dead.


In death, she was smiling. Krystle Campbell looked serene as she lay on a stretcher in the back room of the medical tent on Boylston Street. Danny Keeler didn’t know who she was as the young woman had no identification, driver’s license, or ATM card on her body. An attendant turned Campbell onto her stomach briefly while Keeler inspected her injuries further. Her skin was charred, and her back had been blown apart by scalding shrapnel. Keeler thought about the anguish and anxiety felt by families across New England—across the country—who had yet to hear from their loved ones at the marathon. He thought about his own kids. Keeler looked down at the lifeless body on the stretcher and silently grieved for her parents, whoever they were.

Keeler rounded up a group of detectives and brought them over to the California Pizza Kitchen restaurant, located inside the Prudential Center mall, to decompress for a moment after what they’d seen and done during the past hour. Keeler would never admit it, but at that point, he needed a break, too. He could not shake the image of Denise Richard leaning down over her son Martin. Keeler’s eyes welled up again at the thought. Stay focused, dude, he whispered to himself.

His mind then shifted again to his own family. His cell phone had been lighting up. Keeler’s kids and his girlfriend, Carol, had been watching the live coverage on television and he had yet to speak to them. Keeler fished for his cell phone and called home.

“How bad is it?” Carol asked.

“It’s a mess,” Keeler responded. “We’re gonna be down here for awhile.”

“How’re you doing?”

He paused before answering. Sadness quickly turned to rage.

“We’re gonna get these motherfuckers!”

Danny Keeler had investigated over 200 murders in the city of Boston, and now he had at least three more to solve: those of two women who just a few hours earlier had been brimming with life, and that of a little boy who would never have the chance to grow up. For years, Keeler had been the shoulder to cry on and the man to call on those torturous nights when grieving family members felt as if they couldn’t go on any longer. The crimes that haunted him the most were those against children—children like the boy who now lay under a white sheet in front of Forum.

His career up to this point had been one of both triumph and frustrating disappointment. When Keeler joined the department in 1979, he stood out from his peers almost immediately. In August 1980, Keeler—still just a rookie—ripped off his uniform and jumped 60 feet off the Boston University Bridge into the Charles River to save a man who was attempting suicide. Through Keeler’s quick actions, the man lived, and Keeler was awarded the department’s Medal of Honor. He joined the Boston Police homicide unit in 1992. At the time, the unit was overwhelmed by a record-setting number of murders—most of them unsolved. Keeler got to work right away. In November 1992, he walked into Carney Hall at Boston College and arrested a night school student named Michael Finkley for the deadly shooting, two years earlier, of Frederick “Peanut” Brinson on a busy Dorchester street in broad daylight. Finkley was convicted and sentenced to life in prison. Keeler later captured the killer of 86-year-old Nordella Newson. The elderly woman had been stabbed and strangled by a drug addict in an attempt to steal $500. Keeler was working and closing the books on murder cases at breakneck speed. His success earned him the nickname “Mr. Homicide” on the streets and inside the courtrooms of Boston.

The Brinson and Newson murders were slam-dunk cases, but others proved more difficult. First was the murder of nine-year-old Jermaine Goffigan on Halloween in 1994. Goffigan was shot on his grandmother’s front porch while counting candy. The murder rocked the city, and Keeler and his partner, acting on a tip, made a swift arrest. The suspect, a teenager named Donnell Johnson, was later convicted and would serve five years in prison. The conviction was withdrawn and Johnson was released, however, when new evidence made it clear that eyewitnesses had misidentified him. Two other men pleaded guilty to killing Goffigan.

Johnson sued both Keeler and William Mahoney, who had supervised the investigation, claiming that they had initially withheld from prosecutors the alibi Johnson had given on the night of his arrest. Despite calling the allegations against the two homicide detectives “deeply troubling,” the judge threw out Johnson’s lawsuit. Mahoney was suspended without pay for 30 days. No discipline was taken against Keeler.

In 1999, Keeler got an audiotaped confession from an 18-year-old man who admitted to being present as his 14-year-old pregnant girlfriend was buried alive on the grounds of the abandoned Boston State Hospital. That man, Kyle Bryant, told Keeler that he had hid in the bushes while his friend Lord Hampton stabbed, choked, and bashed the girl’s head in with a rock. The victim, Chauntae Jones, was eight months pregnant with Bryant’s child at the time. Hampton admitted to investigators that Bryant wanted Jones killed out of fear that her family would accuse him of statutory rape. “As I’m throwing dirt on her, he’s [Bryant] jumping up and down on her and yelling, ‘Hurry up and die, bitch,’” Hampton told police. “She gasped all the way through until she was completely buried.”

Yet the jury refused to convict Bryant because it felt that prosecutors had not presented enough evidence. There was no blood, no fingerprints to connect Bryant to the grisly murder. When the verdict was announced, both Keeler and the family of Chauntae Jones were stunned and outraged. The victim’s mother had to be restrained by five court officers while her cousin vowed to kill Kyle Bryant one day. Danny Keeler understood their explosive reaction.

“You tell the disenfranchised people of this world like the Jones family the system works,” Keeler told the Boston Herald. “We told them, ‘Don’t react to the situation with violence. Wait, we’ve got him, he’s confessed.’ And now this? They believed in us and we let them down. There wasn’t one person on that jury who couldn’t say, ‘I’m holding out. I know he did it’? It was a total lack of civic responsibility.”

Justice would finally catch up to Bryant, but not before he killed again. He was convicted nine years later of fatally shooting a man outside a Brockton bar in 2010.

Keeler faced scrutiny himself when he arrested a man accused of decapitating his own brother. The detective made the bold arrest while being videotaped by an ABC News crew for the documentary Boston 24/7. William Leyden had discovered his brother John’s headless body rolled up in a blanket and hidden under a bed inside his East Boston apartment. Keeler pointed the guilty finger at Leyden and provided ABC News with unprecedented access to the man’s arrest. Leyden was booked and released on $100,000 bail, but he lost his job at a print shop as the cloud of guilt loomed over his head. Three years after the arrest, a suspected serial killer named Eugene Mc Collom admitted to killing John Leyden, whom he had befriended at an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting, and burying his head at a park in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Leyden’s sister, Mary Ellen Dakin, had strong words for Detective Keeler, whom she blamed for inflicting further damage on her grieving family. She blasted the Boston Police and the “misguided influence” of Danny Keeler, and William Leyden called the detective an “incompetent and self-serving cop.”

Mr. Homicide was now Mr. Controversy. One of the reasons Keeler remained on the job was the fact that he was one of the most instinctive detectives the department had ever seen. He also knew how to work a crime scene as good as, if not better than, anyone.


Boylston Street was now the biggest crime scene Keeler had ever encountered. He walked behind the bar at the California Pizza Kitchen and grabbed a bottle of Jameson’s. He poured himself a shot, downed it, and thought about what to do next. Keeler could feel the FBI beginning to close ranks and take control of the crime scene, so he grabbed an ATF agent and headed back to Boylston Street to develop what evidence they could.

Governor Patrick would later tell the Boston Globe that the handoff between Boston police and the FBI was “seamless.” “There wasn’t any fussing about it,” he claimed.

In truth, it was a tug of war from the outset. First, the FBI agent in charge had to be convinced it was an act of terrorism.

Suffolk County District Attorney Dan Conley, who was also running for mayor, witnessed the bombings while he was campaigning at the finish line. “Agent Rick DesLauriers seemed panicked when we first spoke,” Conley recalls. “He kept asking me in an agitated way, ‘Is this terrorism? Do you think this is terrorism?’”

Conley told DesLauiers that “of course” they were dealing with terrorism—either foreign or domestic.

The scene had been commandeered by the FBI and access was restricted, including to Boston police and other city investigators.

“Let’s develop it [the crime scene] now,” the ATF agent told his FBI counterpart.

“We’re going to wait.”

“No, no. Let’s get the fucking lights down here now and let’s start working on this now.”

The FBI agent refused to budge.

Word got back to Keeler. He returned to Boylston Street and could not believe the bodies of Lingzi Lu and Martin Richard had not been moved yet.

“Our guys were absolutely beside themselves that Martin Richard was still left on that street,” Keeler says with a trace of anger still present in his voice. “It was positively no reasonable explanation other than the inexperience of the FBI to leave that kid there.”

Martin did not look like the photograph his family would later release to the media. His face and body were covered in soot. Some officers fresh to the scene thought he was African American at first. Keeler and his men were furious. There were heated disputes, and some officers stood nose to nose with the FBI agents. The Boston cops wouldn’t budge, especially Boston Police Captain Frank Armstrong, a father of five, who stood his ground and stood vigil over the boy’s body, while another officer stayed with Lingzi Lu.

“Whoever this boy is,” Armstrong said to Keeler, “I want to be able to tell his father that ‘Your son was never left alone.’”

Captain Armstrong stayed with the bodies of Martin Richard and Lingzi Lu until they were finally removed at 2 a.m.

“We stood there not so much as cops, or veterans, but as fathers,” Armstrong later told the Boston Herald. “Every one of us there that night thought but for the grace of God that could be my child coming in to watch the marathon on a beautiful day.”


Earlier that same Monday night—just hours after his bombs had blown apart so many lives—one of the Tsarnaev brothers wrote a message of his own.

“Ain’t no love in the heart of the city,” Dzhokhar Tsarnaev tweeted. “Stay safe people.”

He followed that Twitter message with another at 12:34 a.m. on Tuesday. “There are people that know the truth but remain silent & there are people that speak the truth but we don’t hear them cuz they’re the minority.”


Excerpt from Boston Strong: A City’s Triumph over Tragedy, by Casey Sherman and Dave Wedge. Published by ForeEdge, an imprint of University Press of New England. Used with permission.