In an unprecedented move, the city of Boston, in its entirety, is being asked to shelter-in-place, with schools and mass transit closed. Nearby Watertown, where police and federal authorities are searching for the Boston Marathon bomber who is still at large, is in lockdown as Friday's manhunt continues.
At this moment, heavily armed members of the military, assisted by local law enforcement, are going door-to-door in Watertown, searching every house, garage, and shed for bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. CNN indicates that 9,000 members of law enforcement are involved in the effort. A no-fly zone is in effect over the town.
Police evacuate a Watertown resident. (AP)
Police in tactical gear conduct a search for a suspect in the Boston Marathon bombings. (AP)
Incredible photo of swat team (photo: Aram Boghosian/Boston Globe) twitter.com/billy_baker/st…— Mike Hayes (@michaelhayes) April 19, 2013
Authorities have asked businesses to remain closed. According to the Boston Globe, all vehicle traffic is banned in that city. In order to conduct its operation, the police are asking the media not to film what officers are doing.
While Watertown is teeming with activity, its larger neighbor is eerily empty. At a press conference this morning, Massachusetts Governor Dsval Patrick announced that everyone in Boston was being asked to "shelter-in-place;" that is, not to leave the house or answer the door — an order that affects 625,000 people.
Leaving Boston looking like this:
Downtown Crossing 10:30 am twitter.com/WBURSteve/stat…— Steve Brown (@WBURSteve) April 19, 2013
Not that there's anywhere to go, or anyway to get there. Taxi service was suspended, but has since been restored. Amtrak service and the regional mass transit has been closed; in part, apparently, because authorities don't want crowds of people gathering together.
A woman watches police as they search for the Boston Marathon bombing suspects in Watertown. (Reuters)
Boston Police identify other towns with shelter-in-place orders: Watertown, Waltham, Newton, Belmont, Cambridge and Allston Brighton. In Cambridge, which lies between Boston and Watertown, singer Juliana Hatfield woke up to this notice on her door:
i fell asleep to the sound of helicopters overhead and woke up to this on my front door--whoa twitter.com/julianahatfiel…— Juliana Hatfield (@julianahatfield) April 19, 2013
A resident in the area describes how he learned about the situation:
I got the emergency texts all night from MIT, and we had robocalls from Belmont PD telling us to stay inside, one just a minute ago saying town offices and buildings are closed.
Others who are staying in their homes in the area seem to be struggling to process the unusual scenario.
@antderosa Kenmore. It's like a strange and terrible dream. I've never seen the streets like this. Dead except for the occasional siren.— Sharon Weissburg (@thekidette) April 19, 2013
@antderosa Scared. Feel like I'm in the middle of some sick and twisted movie that won't end.— Meredith Perri (@MeredithPerri) April 19, 2013
@antderosa it's eerily quiet from the lack of road traffic aside from the constant sirens earlier this morning.— Alberto D (@7idledays) April 19, 2013