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Officials have image of potential suspect in Boston bombings

AFP/Getty Images - Police at the Moakley Federal Courthouse in Boston on April 17, 2013, order people away from the courthouse as the building is evacuated. Police on Wednesday evacuated the federal courthouse in Boston which has been under increased scrutiny since the deadly bomb attacks earlier this week at the city's marathon. An AFP reporter at the scene said scores of people were ordered out of the building near the Boston seafront and two fire trucks were present. Police moved onlookers more than 100 feet back from the building, but there was no immediate sign of an emergency.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>AFP/Getty Images</em></div>Police at the Moakley Federal Courthouse in Boston on April 17, 2013, order people away from the courthouse as the building is evacuated. Police on Wednesday evacuated the federal courthouse in Boston which has been under increased scrutiny since the deadly bomb attacks earlier this week at the city's marathon. An AFP reporter at the scene said scores of people were ordered out of the building near the Boston seafront and two fire trucks were present. Police moved onlookers more than 100 feet back from the building, but there was no immediate sign of an emergency.
Reuters - A pair of running shoes is seen April 17, 2013 at a makeshift memorial on Boston University's campus in memory of the Boston University graduate student who was killed in the explosions at the Boston Marathon.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Reuters</em></div>A pair of running shoes is seen  April 17, 2013 at a makeshift memorial on Boston University's campus in memory of the Boston University graduate student who was killed in the explosions at the Boston Marathon.
AP - An FBI investigator walks down a fire truck ladder with a bag from the top of a building at the corner of Boylston Street and Fairfield Street April 17, 2013, in Boston. Investigators in white jumpsuits fanned out across the streets, rooftops and awnings around the blast site in search of clues on Wednesday.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>AP</em></div>An FBI investigator walks down a fire truck ladder with a bag from the top of a building at the corner of Boylston Street and Fairfield Street  April 17, 2013, in Boston. Investigators in white jumpsuits fanned out across the streets, rooftops and awnings around the blast site in search of clues on Wednesday.
AP - Investigators comb through the scene of one of the blast sites of the Boston Marathon explosions, Wednesday, April 17, 2013, in Boston.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>AP</em></div>Investigators comb through the scene of one of the blast sites of the Boston Marathon explosions, Wednesday, April 17, 2013, in Boston.
AP - Robert Bakoian, 38, of Boston, reflects near a makeshift memorial on Boylston Street, Wednesday, April 17, 2013, in Boston. The city continues to cope following Monday's explosions near the finish line of the Boston Marathon.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>AP</em></div>Robert Bakoian, 38, of Boston, reflects near a makeshift memorial on Boylston Street, Wednesday, April 17, 2013, in Boston. The city continues to cope following Monday's explosions near the finish line of the Boston Marathon.
AP - New York Yankees players observe a moment of silence in memory of the victims of the Boston Marathon explosions before a baseball game against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Yankee Stadium in New York, Tuesday, April 16, 2013. In big ways and small, New York is putting aside its heated and historical rivalry with Boston in a show of support after the Boston Marathon explosions.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>AP</em></div>New York Yankees players observe a moment of silence in memory of the victims of the Boston Marathon explosions before a baseball game against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Yankee Stadium in New York, Tuesday, April 16, 2013. In big ways and small, New York is putting aside its heated and historical rivalry with Boston in a show of support after the Boston Marathon explosions.
AP - Two fans embrace while singing 'Sweet Caroline' as a tribute to the victims of the Boston Marathon explosions after the third inning of a baseball game between the New York Yankees and the Arizona Diamondbacks at Yankee Stadium in New York, Tuesday, April 16, 2013. The song by Neil Diamond has been a longtime fixture as a fan sing-along during the bottom of the eighth inning of Boston Red Sox games. In big ways and small, New York is putting aside its heated and historical rivalry with Boston in a show of support after the Boston Marathon explosions.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>AP</em></div>Two fans embrace while singing 'Sweet Caroline' as a tribute to the victims of the Boston Marathon explosions after the third inning of a baseball game between the New York Yankees and the Arizona Diamondbacks at Yankee Stadium in New York, Tuesday, April 16, 2013. The song by Neil Diamond has been a longtime fixture as a fan sing-along during the bottom of the eighth inning of Boston Red Sox games. In big ways and small, New York is putting aside its heated and historical rivalry with Boston in a show of support after the Boston Marathon explosions.
AP - Commuters on a bus pass bt a huge screen which reports Boston's marathon bombings that killed three and wounded more than 170 people, in Beijing, China Wednesday, April 17, 2013. A state-run Chinese newspaper says the third person killed in the Boston Marathon bombings is a Chinese graduate student at Boston University originally from China's northeastern city of Shenyang.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>AP</em></div>Commuters on a bus pass bt a huge screen which reports Boston's marathon bombings that killed three and wounded more than 170 people, in Beijing, China Wednesday, April 17, 2013. A state-run Chinese newspaper says the third person killed in the Boston Marathon bombings is a Chinese graduate student at Boston University originally from China's northeastern city of Shenyang.
Getty Images - Chinese people light candles to mourn for the victims of the Boston Marathon explosion at Olympic Forest Park on Tuesday, April 16, 2013 in Beijing, China.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Getty Images</em></div>Chinese people light candles to mourn for the victims of the Boston Marathon explosion at Olympic Forest Park on Tuesday, April 16, 2013 in Beijing, China.
AP - Jillian Blenis, 30, of Boston, reacts while stopping at a makeshift memorial, Wednesday, April 17, 2013, in Boston. The city continues to cope following Monday's explosions near the finish line of the Boston Marathon.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>AP</em></div>Jillian Blenis, 30, of Boston, reacts while stopping at a makeshift memorial, Wednesday, April 17, 2013, in Boston. The city continues to cope following Monday's explosions near the finish line of the Boston Marathon.
AP - Ethel Rose Paris holds up some religious items she brought to leave at the house of Martin Richard beyond a police cordon in the Dorchester neighborhood of Boston, Wednesday, April 17, 2013. Richard, 8, was killed in Monday's bombings at the finish line of the Boston Marathon.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>AP</em></div>Ethel Rose Paris holds up some religious items she brought to leave at the house of Martin Richard beyond a police cordon in the Dorchester neighborhood of Boston, Wednesday, April 17, 2013.   Richard, 8,  was killed in Monday's bombings at the finish line of the Boston Marathon.
AP - Jillian Blenis, 30, of Boston, reacts while stopping at a makeshift memorial, Wednesday, April 17, 2013, in Boston. The city continues to cope following Monday's explosions near the finish line of the Boston Marathon.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>AP</em></div>Jillian Blenis, 30, of Boston, reacts while stopping at a makeshift memorial, Wednesday, April 17, 2013, in Boston. The city continues to cope following Monday's explosions near the finish line of the Boston Marathon.
AP - A sign lies on the street as investigators comb through one of the blast sites of the Boston Marathon explosions Wednesday, April 17, 2013, in Boston. Authorities investigating the deadly bombings have recovered a piece of circuit board that they believe was part of one of the explosive devices, and also found the lid of a pressure cooker that apparently was catapulted onto the roof of a nearby building, an official said Wednesday.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>AP</em></div>A sign lies on the street as investigators comb through one of the blast sites of the Boston Marathon explosions Wednesday, April 17, 2013, in Boston. Authorities investigating the deadly bombings have recovered a piece of circuit board that they believe was part of one of the explosive devices, and also found the lid of a pressure cooker that apparently was catapulted onto the roof of a nearby building, an official said Wednesday.
AP - An American flag flies at half-staff in Union Square in New York, Wednesday, April 17, 2013. Gov. Andrew Cuomo directed that flags on state government buildings be flown at half-staff in honor of the victims of the marathon bombing in Boston.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>AP</em></div>An American flag flies at half-staff in Union Square in New York, Wednesday, April 17, 2013. Gov. Andrew Cuomo directed that flags on state government buildings be flown at half-staff in honor of the victims of the marathon bombing in Boston.

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By The Associated Press
Wednesday, April 17, 2013, 11:00 a.m.
 

BOSTON — In what could be major break in the Boston Marathon case, investigators are on the hunt for a man seen in a department store surveillance video dropping off a bag at the site of the bombings, a local politician said Wednesday.

Separately, a law enforcement official confirmed that authorities have found an image of a potential suspect but don't know his name.

The development — less than 48 hours after the attack, which left three people dead and more than 170 wounded — marked a possible turning point in a case that has investigators analyzing photos and videos frame by frame for clues to who carried out the twin bombings and why.

City Council President Stephen Murphy, who said he was briefed by Boston police, said investigators saw the image on surveillance footage they got from a department store near the finish line and matched the findings with witness descriptions of someone leaving the scene.

“I know it's very active and very fluid right now — that they are on the chase,” Murphy said. He added: “They may be on the verge of arresting someone, and that's good.”

The bombs were crudely fashioned from ordinary kitchen pressure cookers packed with explosives, nails and ball bearings, investigators and others close to the case said. Investigators suspect the devices were then hidden in black duffel bags and left on the ground.

As a result, they were looking for images of someone lugging a dark, heavy bag.

One department store video “has confirmed that a suspect is seen dropping a bag near the point of the second explosion and heading off,” Murphy said.

A law enforcement official who was not authorized to discuss the case publicly and spoke to The Associated Press on the condition of anonymity confirmed only that investigators had an image of a potential suspect whose name was not known to them and who had not been questioned.

Several media outlets reported that a suspect had been identified from surveillance video taken at a Lord & Taylor department store between the sites of the bomb blasts.

The turn of events came with Boston in a state of high excitement over conflicting reports of a breakthrough.

A law enforcement official briefed on the investigation told the AP around midday that a suspect was in custody. The official, who was not authorized to divulge details of the investigation and spoke on the condition of anonymity, said the suspect was expected in federal court. But the FBI and the U.S. attorney's office in Boston said no arrests had been made.

By nightfall, there was no evidence anyone was in custody. No one was taken to court. The law enforcement official, who had affirmed there was a suspect in custody even after federal officials denied it, was unable to obtain any further information or explanation.

At least 14 bombing victims remained in critical condition. Dozens have been released from hospitals, and officials at three hospitals that treated some of the most seriously injured said they expected all their remaining patients to survive.

On Wednesday, investigators in white jumpsuits fanned out across the streets, rooftops and awnings around the blast site in search of clues. They picked through trash cans, plastic cup sleeves and discarded sports drink dispensers.

Boston remained under a heavy security presence, and some people admitted they were nervous about moving about in public spaces.

Tyler King, a personal trainer from Attleboro who works in Boston, said four of five clients canceled on him a day earlier because they were worried about venturing into the city. He took the train in, but “I kind of kept my head on a swivel.”

Kenya Nadry, a website designer, took her 5-year-old nephew to a playground.

“There's still some sense of fear, but I feel like Boston's resilient,” she said. “The fine men in blue will take care of a lot of it.”

Police were stationed on street corners across downtown Boston, while National Guardsmen set up tents on the Boston Common and stationed tactical vehicles.

Dr. Horacio Hojman, associate chief of trauma at Tufts Medical Center, said patients were in surprisingly good spirits when they were brought in.

“Despite what they witnessed, despite what they suffered, despite many of them having life-threatening injuries, their spirits were not broken,” he said. “And I think that should probably be the message for all of us — that this horrible act of terror will not bring us down.”

President Barack Obama and his challenger in the last election, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, planned to visit Boston on Thursday to attend a service honoring the victims.

The blasts killed 8-year-old Martin Richard, of Boston, and 29-year-old Krystle Campbell, of Medford. The Shenyang Evening News, a state-run Chinese newspaper, identified the third victim as Lu Lingzi, a graduate student at Boston University.

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