As an instant reaction to this AP tweet, several hundred journalists gathered in front of the Boston federal courthouse in anticipation of the arrival of the arrested suspect. Some of them, like Kelley Tuthill of the Boston TV station WCVB, went inside. Court staff told her that a courtroom (Nr. 18) was prepared for "some kind of appearance". But soon authorities denied that an arrest had been made, and at the same time the courthouse was evacuated due to a "code red" security alert, a very rare event. A bomb threat was later given as an explanation, but without any details.
After the crowd was forced back from the entrance and the street, a white van with tinted windows and a US marshal clinging to the passenger door passed by and entered the building via the back driveway. This incident was quickly brushed under the carpet and has raised no queries by anyone afterwards, but it is well documented by photos, video footage and twitter messages. In this WCVB video
you can see the van right from the start as he arrives at the courthouse, turns left and drives into the building.
These circumstances don't allow any other conclusion than that the van transported an arrested and potentially dangerous person to be arraigned at the courthouse. The conclusion that the courthouse was evacuated to expel the journalists inside lest they got a glimpse at the arrested individual is nearly inevitable. The presence of several Homeland Security cars in front of the building shows that the arrest was terror-related. The timely correlation to the messages of the arrest and their retraction strongly suggests that the person in the van was the subject of these messages - almost certainly the dark-skinned male reported by King.
The events of April 17th have been accompanied by several real-time online accounts. For a better oversight, I have compiled three timelines:
- a timeline of WCVB twitter messages
- a timeline of Boston police scanner messages, passed on real-time by three websites
- a summarized timeline with the most important points
The noted hours in the time designations on the websites are dependent on the time zone. The context of the messages however unambigously points to the real hour; I adjusted the times respectively.
WCVB Timeline - all times are p.m.
1:26 Janet Wu says an arrest is imminent and may have already taken place.
1:43 AP: suspect to be brought to court
Summarized timeline - all times are p.m.
ca. 1:30 The suspect is arrested
ca. 1:50 First media reports that a suspect is in custody
ca. 2:00 The suspect is moved from MIT via Kendall Square and Interstate 93 to the federal courthouse, accompanied by a police motorcade
ca. 2:20 The convoy with the suspect arrives at the courthouse, but cannot move on because a journalist crowd has gathered in front of the entrance
ca. 2:30 Beginning denials that an arrest has been made
ca. 3:00 The courthouse is evacuated due to a "code red" alert. The crowd is forced back from the street. AP still stands to its story - for the last time - that a suspect is in custody.
ca. 3:10 A white van with an US marshal clinging to the passenger door - and most probably the suspect inside - enters the courthouse via the back driveway.
Why was the arrest of a suspect denied in spite of being extensively reported on the Boston police scanner?
What was courtroom 18 prepared for (Kelley Tuthill), if not the arraignment of a suspect?
Who was the obviously arrested person inside the white van?
Why was the white van driving into the courthouse in spite of the fact that the courthouse was evacuated shortly before under a "code red" threat?