Man arrested after bringing backpack to Boston Marathon finish line

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April 15, 2014, 7:05 pm
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(NECN) - Kevin Edson, a 25-year-old Boston man, was detained Tuesday night and the area near the Boston Marathon finish line evacuated after an unattended backpack was found.

Boston Police said a backpack was left unattended by the finish line at 6:50 p.m. There was a second bag, but that was not left by the suspect. The Boylston Street area was shut down for about 3 hours, with pedestrians and motorists asked to avoid the area.

NECN witnessed a man being put in the back of a police cruiser on Tuesday night. Boston Police said the suspect faces charges of threatening battery, disorderly conduct, possession of a hoax explosive device, threats to commit a crime, disturbing a public assembly and disturbing the peace. According to the Suffolk District Attorney, he is expected to be arraigned on those charges Wednesday in Boston Municipal Court.


"With the marathon coming, we are taking it seriously," Boston Police Superintendent Randall Halstead said. "Our officers have been trained in looking for any kind of suspicious activity. I want to emphasize the fact that the safety of the public is utmost, and the training my officers have gone through will come to the forefront. That's what we're going to do to make this the best marathon in the wake of last year."

Halstead said the suspect was taken into custody after an officer saw him "walking down the middle of Boylston Street in the rain, barefoot." Eyewitnesses also told NECN the man was wearing all black with a veil and hat covering his face and he was screaming. He also had blue and yellow paint on his face. The officers who stopped Edson also noticed a rice cooker in the man's backpack. Fragments consistent with a rice cooker were recovered after it was detonated by police.

One backpack was detonated by the bomb squad around 8:50 p.m. The second bag was detonated shortly after 9:30 p.m. Boston Police later said that both unattended bags were "disrupted" for precautionary reasons.

NECN General Manager Mike St. Peter released a statement saying, "One of the two bags that police detonated last night belonged to a NECN news crew. The crew had put down their bag - which contained cables - while on the scene covering last night's developments. They were not permitted to retrieve the bag when the area was quickly evacuated. The NECN crew cooperated while asking officers several times if they could get their bag back. Because of the ongoing investigation, police denied access. Once the scene was cleared, the crew picked up the remains of the bag." NECN is owned by NBCUniversal.

Shortly before 10 p.m., fire engines were seen leaving the area, and people were allowed back onto the streets.

The incident occurred at the end of a day dedicated to commemorating the anniversary of the April 15, 2013 Boston Marathon bombings, which killed three people in the area of the finish line. A remembrance at the Old South Church on Tuesday night went on in spite of the disturbance.

Boston Mayor Marty Walsh was made aware of the situation at the marathon finish line, but said it was premature for him to say much on Tuesday night.

"You hear this stuff often of times where people do foolish things," Walsh said. "I'm hoping it's just an accident and somebody left something… I'm hoping it's nothing serious."

Green Line service was temporarily suspended between Haymarket and Kenmore due to the Boston Police activity in Copley Square, but it was restored around 9:50 p.m.

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Tags: Boston, charges, Boston Marathon, Copley Square, Justin Michaels, backpack, Kevin Edson
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