Belfast Telegraph

Police tell of first-hand experiences during Boston bombings

BY CLAIRE WILLIAMSON

Officers have told of their emotional first-hand experiences of the Boston bombings.

The police officers who are in Northern Ireland as part of the World Police and Fire Games fought back tears as they recalled the fateful day.

News of the Boston attack shocked the world as scenes of terror ensued on April 15, 2013, when two bombs exploded on the finish line of the annual Boston marathon.

Joe Covino and Jimmy Mahonney both play for the North America Blues ice-hockey team.

Joe is a police sergeant with Boston Revere Police and ran the marathon the day of the bombing.

He said: "I was about three-quarters of a mile away when the first bomb went off.

"My brother Mike had just crossed the finish line, he's a sergeant in my department.

"He ran to South Boston which is about three miles away and drove 17 miles to his house.

"He changed into his uniform and went back in to Boston. You can see him on the news at 2am clearing buildings. He's like superman."

The 43-year-old continued: "I was closest to the second bomb blast and helped put people back on buses.

"The following week we shut down the whole city and out of 1.2 million people watching the marathon along that route we had two people singled out."

Jimmy Mahonney works as a special agent in Homeland Security.

He was in his office when the bombs went off, but was deeply impacted by the events.

Mr Mahonney said: "I can't stress enough how well everyone worked together.

"It is so difficult to think about two individuals that hated the United States so bad that they wanted to kill some innocent people including kids. One kid was nine-years-old."

The 34-year-old continued: "The following week we worked as hard as we could. I could count on one hand how many hours I slept that week.

"We followed the leads that we were given from the public. That was really key.

"There were millions of photos just constantly coming in and then we saw there was one person with a backpack and in the next he didn't."

The North America Blues players say it's tournaments like this that build the camaraderie within the police force.

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