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BSU and Boston Strong: One Year Later

News Feature

News & Events

April 10, 2014

Tuesday marks the first anniversary of the Boston Marathon bombing, an event that deeply touched the region and the BSU community. 

The Tsarnaev brothers allegedly set off two bombs targeting spectators of the city’s annual marathon race on April 15, 2013. The bombs, detonated near the finish line on Boylston Street, killed 3 people and injured an estimated 264 others. In the aftermath, an MIT police officer was killed, as well.

Five athletic training students and their professor, Kimberly Wise, spent the day working triage inside a tent just beyond the finish line. The students were: Jordan DaSilva, Tom Doucete, Joe Sanford and Jordan Leonard, all class of 2014; and Bethany Forshaw, G’13. The members of the group were helping runners recover from the 26.2-mile race. Once the first bomb went off, Professor Wise saw her students running toward the wreckage. Knowing it was impossible to stop the students, she said to herself, “We’re going in.” 

The members of the group were hailed several weeks later during commencement by President Dana Mohler-Faria. He told graduates to follow their brave example.

Another member of the BSU community played an integral part in the aftermath of the bombings. When the suspects were on the run three nights later, they ended up in Watertown. There, Sgt. John MacLellan, ’88, was the patrol supervisor that night. He was second on the scene as the Tsarnaev brothers were stopped on Laurel Street. Shortly after he arrived at the scene, of what was then just a traffic stop, to assist Patrolman Joe Reynolds, bullets and homemade bombs started flying.

After a tenacious gunfight lasting several minutes, the older suspect, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, ran up Laurel Street heading directly for Sgt. MacLellan. The veteran officer was out of bullets and believed he was finished. Tsarnaev was, fortunately, also out of bullets. MacLellan and another officer subdued the suspect and were trying to handcuff him as he lay struggling beneath them on the ground. Now the concern was of some sort of explosives the suspect might attempt to detonate. 

Sgt. MacLellan’s life again flashed before his eyes. “I thought to myself, ‘I just hope it’s quick,’” he said. “I really thought this was it. There’s no way this kid came up here unarmed.” 

The rest is, as they say, history. Tamerlan Tsarnaev had no explosives on him. He was arrested but died on Laurel Street, due to wounds suffered in the gunfight and after being run over by his younger brother.  Dzhokhar Tsarnaev got away that night, but was apprehended about 20 hours later during the Watertown lockdown.

For his actions on the night of the Laurel Street shootout, Sgt. MacLellan will receive the Presidential Medal of Valor later this month. (Story by Caitlin Seddon, University News)

Professor Kimberly Wise and students Jordan Leonard, Joe Sanford, Bethany Forshaw and Tom Doucete; missing from photo Jordan DaSilva
Sgt. John MacLellan