UPDATE: Concealed Explosive Devices Go Off in NYC and NJ – Including at Marine Charity Event
A 5k charity race to benefit Marines was targeted in a bombing in Seaside Park, New Jersey Saturday morning causing the cancellation of the race, and less than eleven hours later, a blast in a dumpster in the Chelsea district of New York City just 90 miles away raised immediate concerns about the possibility of a coordinated series of terror attacks as authorities scrambled to investigate.
The incident in New Jersey involved an explosive device detonated via a timer in a garbage can located near the starting line for the race where 5,000 runners were ready to run the third annual Marine Semper Fi race to benefit the MARSOC Foundation – the arm of the Marine Corps that handles direct action, reconnaissance, information gathering and counter-terrorism.
Police reported that there were no injuries from the explosion, probably because the race was delayed because of the number of last-minute registrants.
The explosive device failed to completely detonate, leaving two of three pipe bombs containing unknown explosives intact and giving authorities ample material to examine.
Hours later, just 90 miles away in New York City, a dumpster exploded in the Chelsea district where the sidewalks were full on a warm autumn night in a residential neighborhood crowded with restaurants, bars and brownstone buildings.
The NYPD also detonated another device, which they identified as a pressure cooker found blocks away, triggering comparisons to the deadly bombs set by the Tsarnaev brothers at the Boston Marathon in April 2013.
Twenty-five people were injured and taken to the hospital; there were no fatalities from the blast.
New York Mayor Bill deBlasio appeared on cable news channels to confirm that the dumpster bomb was “an intentional act.”
Witnesses in New York claimed the explosion created a “large fireball” and a “boom that lasted 15 seconds.”
In New Jersey, one resident who was not at the scene at the starting line for the race, said she heard the explosion at her home.
“I thought it might have been an explosion of some sort or a sonic boom,” she said.
Law enforcement agencies are cooperating, but the FBI will take charge as lead investigative agency.
As of midnight, no arrests have been made in connection with either explosion.
Both presidential candidates commented on the reports of the bombs, with Hillary Clinton saying she was being updated on events, and Donald Trump coming in for criticism for calling the explosion in New York “a bomb” before it had been categorized as such by authorities on the ground.