A Saudi man reported yesterday to be in custody was the subject of an inflammatory (and some say prejudicial) New York Post story that went viral on Twitter, but a different picture is emerging this morning as Boston police reiterate that no one so far is a suspect.
After the Boston bombings, the Saudi man story began to spread quickly and, depending on who you got information from, appeared either to be decisively important or not very credible at all.
In addition to the Saudi man in custody claim, the NY Post also claimed that 12 people had died in the Boston bombings — yet initial reports elsewhere were that two had died initially, with the death toll rising to three late last night.
In the TPM post embedded in the tweet below, the site confirms that Boston police searched the 20-year-old man’s apartment as he is treated in a hospital for burns. Reports indicate that the young man both is a student and has no known ties to any organization.
It seems the Post is running with the story despite a lack of confirmation from law enforcement, offering up these alleged statements made by the Saudi man deemed by the paper to be a “potential suspect” in the case:
“I thought there would be a second bomb … Did anyone die?”
Buried at the bottom of this morning’s update on the Saudi man in custody, however, is a telling bit of information — the student was indeed apprehended at the scene but by a fellow bystander.
One claim made by the paper is that the Saudi man smelled like gunpowder — again, hardly surprising given the fact the bombs were loaded with the substance in order to maximize casualty:
— Nick Egoroff (@NickEgoroff) April 16, 2013
In addition, the Saudi student currently in a hospital in Boston was detained for the suspicious behavior of … running away from the bomb blast. Which is a behavior any sane human with intact survival instincts would select in the face of what appears to be a terror attack.
CBS quotes a reporter who’d spoken to BPD sources:
“[Bystanders on the Boston bombing scene] see him running away from the device … Now, a reasonable person would be running away. But this person had noticed him before. This is a civilian — chases him down, tackles him, turns him over to the Boston police.”
The site continues:
“The individual is being looked at [and] was suffering from burn injury. That means this person was pretty close to wherever this blast went off, but not so close as to suffer the serious injuries that other people did.”
There is no indication the Saudi man is a person of interest in the Boston bombing.
NBC: Police were investigating 20-year-old Saudi man when they searched apartment in Revere, Mass. bit.ly/17DG3mi
— Talking Points Memo (@TPM) April 16, 2013