At UMass, nerves ran high, as all tuned in
Ryan Kaplan of Sharon talks about the search for the Boston Marathon bombers at Umass Friday afternoon. Purchase photo reprints »
left Dave Pighetti, of West Springfield, and Tyler Pease of Huntington, at the Blue Wall at Umass, eating lunch and watching news about the search for the Boston Marathon bombers. Purchase photo reprints »
left Dave Pighetti, of West Springfield, Tyler Pease of Huntington, and Ryan Anzivino, of Bellingham at the Blue Wall at Umass, eating lunch and watching news about the search for the Boston Marathon bombers. Purchase photo reprints »
left Maeve Guinan, of Lee and Celina Chan of Newton at the Blue Wall at Umass, eating lunch and watching news about the search for the Boston Marathon bombers. Purchase photo reprints »
left Alyson Hewit, of Vermont, Michael Griffin of Boston and Kerri Sweeney of Chelmsford at the Blue Wall at Umass, eating lunch and watching news about the search for the Boston Marathon bombers. Purchase photo reprints »
AMHERST — Pausing only for bites of sandwiches or sips of soup, students and faculty at the University of Massachusetts Amherst stared at two flatscreen TVs digesting information Friday on the massive manhunt and lockdown in Boston.
Celina Chan, a 20-year-old Newton resident studying nutrition, said she contacted her family to make sure they were safe. “We had heard about the MIT shooting, but didn’t think it was connected,” Chan said. “Then, we found out about the Newton, Boston and Allston lockdown and I called my family.”
“It’s hard to wrap my head around it,” said Maeve Guinan of Lee, also a nutrition student. “I couldn’t believe it’s someone from Massachusetts, that someone would want to do something like that to this state.”
“Everyone is just glued to the TV,” said Chan.
Crystal DaRosa, 24, lives in New Bedford but expected to spend the night in Amherst because of the manhunt prevented her from getting to her car.
DaRosa was supposed to be working a marketing job at the Boston Marathon’s finish line this week, but was reassigned to another job at UMass. Before that, she parked her car in Watertown — the main focal point of Friday’s massive search.
“We were literally driving from Boston to Amherst when the bombs went off,” said DaRosa. “I’m so thankful that I ended up getting a different job, almost everyone I know was working there. It’s a terrible thought of everyone being there, and it’s not like it’s somewhere else, it’s right here.”
Ryan Kaplan, a 20-year-old English major, lives in Sharon — about a half an hour south of Boston.
“I was following it online last night, and I heard about the MIT police officer getting shot but I didn’t really think it was related,” said Kaplan. “Then, I woke up this morning and I was like, ‘This is crazy.’” UMass history and education student Meredith Jeremiah, 21, of West Hartford, Conn., said she learned of the manhunt through social media and apps on her phone.
She commented on how quickly investigators released photos of suspects.
“I guess they just wanted everyone to get involved,” she said. “Since they released the pictures, I expected them to have the suspects within 24 hours.”
Alex Johnson, a 24-year-old molecular biology graduate student from Marshfield, said he wasn’t surprised by the quick identification of suspects.
“I thought it would be even sooner, with all the cameras around these days,” he said. “It’s harder to get around with all the cameras in public.”
The situation had Elise Taylor, a 32-year-old nutrition student from northern California, feeling on edge.
“I’m very tense. The whole situation is tense. I woke up around 5:30 a.m. and turned on my computer. They were live-streaming and they kept shutting things down. It all just added to those feelings,” she said.