LA, OC On Heightened Alert In Wake Of Deadly Boston Bombings
LOS ANGELES (CBS/AP) —A number of Southland, as well as statewide, agencies Monday confirmed they are on heightened alert in the wake of two explosions at the Boston Marathon.
At least three people were killed, including an 8-year-old boy, and more than 140 injured when two bombs went off at the marathon’s finish line on Boylston Street.
Several victims were missing limbs and video from the scene showed people with blood on their heads following the blasts, which took place around 2:50 p.m. EST.
CBS News’ Bob Orr reported the two devices were likely located inside trash cans at the viewing area near the finish line. So far, no terrorist group has claimed responsibility and no one has been arrested in connection to the incident.
A Saudi national was being held in custody and questioned, but the person is not being called a suspect.
CBS News said what was believed to be a bomb at JFK Library was an unrelated, accidental fire.
Kelly Huston, assistant secretary of the California Emergency Management System, which is a danger assessment system established after the September 11 terrorist attacks, said there appears to be no credible threats against the state.
“At this point we don’t see a connection to California, but it’s pretty early,” Huston said of the Boston attack.
California officials were examining if there was “any shred of information coming out of Boston correlated to something we know about locally, trying to see if there’s any connections, and if there is a connection, who needs to know about it,” Huston said.
As a precaution, however, extra security will now be added to high-profile events and locations throughout Los Angeles.
“While the cause of the explosions this morning at the Boston Marathon are still under investigation, our vigilance has been raised,” Sheriff Lee Baca of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department said in a statement. “The heightened alert…includes increased patrols to create a more visible presence where people congregate, such as government buildings, shopping centers, athletic events, and public transit. Partnering with local police and public safety agencies and other countywide efforts have been enhanced, including opening the Department Operations Center to maximize communication.”
Extra officers were out in full force at Dodger Stadium for the Dodgers-Padres game at 7 p.m. Monday, according to Cmdr. Andrew Smith of the LAPD.
“Right now there is nothing here to indicate that anything related to Los Angeles is related to anything at all in Boston,” he said. “We’re looking at all the events where there are large numbers of people. For instance, Dodger Stadium has a big game tonight. We’ve got additional officers in uniform. Not because we think something will happen, but just as a precaution.”
Juan Flores, one of the thousands of fans who celebrated Jackie Robinson Day at the stadium, said he didn’t mind the extra patrols.
“There are a lot of cops patrolling. It doesn’t bother me at all. I want to be a police officer, so I like it. It looks more professional, honestly,” he said.
Lt. Al Labrada told KCAL9′s Juan Fernandez, “We wanted to make sure there weren’t going to be any repeated incidents from incidents we’ve had. Not to mention some of the incidents we’ve had recently in San Diego. We wanted to make sure the families and the fans feel comfortable attending today’s event.”
Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa released a statement which said, in part, “We are working closely with our law enforcement partners to monitor the situation and stand ready to aid Boston in any way possible. The LAPD and other public safety agencies will remain vigilant at all public and sporting events in Los Angeles.”
Los Angeles Airport Police confirmed there will be additional personnel at various local airports.
“Los Angeles Airport Police continues to monitor the tragic explosions that occurred earlier today at Copley Square in Boston. While there is no information to suggest that there is any nexus to the Los Angeles area, in an abundance of caution, Airport Police has increased its presence at LAX, LA/Ontario International, and Van Nuys airports by deploying bomb-detection canines, additional patrol officers and security personnel. Airport Police will continue to work closely with its local and federal law enforcement partners to ensure the safe and secure operation of LAWA’s airports and encourages the traveling public to remain vigilant and to notify police if they observe any suspicious behavior or items.”
Officials at the Port of Los Angeles were also under a heightened state of alert.
“At this point, we don’t believe there is a threat to any of the San Pedro bay port complex, but we have enhanced our security profile,” port spokesman Phillip Sanfield said. “We are watching things closely.”
Security stepped up at Metro facilities, including Union Station, with additional officers and K-9 units, said Metro spokesman Marc Littman.
The Orange County Sheriff’s Department also has extra security in place.
“Our deputies will have an increased presence at local sporting/entertainment venues and other large gathering places,” Sheriff Sandra Hutchens said in a statement.
Capt. Tim Moy said deputies will maintain “high visibility” at areas such as Disneyland, Angel Stadium and the Honda Center.
(TM and © Copyright 2013 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2013 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)