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Unitarian minister, Newton resident David Pettee reacts to “freaky” week in Boston

NEWTON — The Rev. David Pettee of Newton said he took his wife to the airport before 7 a.m. this morning.

“That’s when I realized what was going on,” said Pettee, who is the cousin of Florence resident Tom Kovar. “There were a lot of police cars but no other traffic.”

Pettee said he got a robocall from the city informing him of the lockdown at about 7:15 p.m. He lives about 3 miles from Watertown, where police seem to be focusing their search efforts, so he hasn’t seen anyone searching in his neighborhood.

“What’s noticeable now is it’s very, very quiet,” he said. “There are no cars, only the occasional helicopter. It’s like a snowstorm when everything shuts down, except it’s April.”

Pettee, who works at the Unitarian Universalist Association headquarters on Beacon Street, said he’s run in the Boston Marathon 11 times over the years. He said so many city residents, whether they run in the race or just like the tradition of the event, have been very affected by the Monday bombings.

“A lot local people have affection for the race, so they feel like the soul of the city has been damaged by this,” he said. “I think people felt like they let their guard down, they were just celebrating and enjoying the spring day, and then something tragic like this takes place.”

Pettee said he has seen Bostonians on the subway, at the memorial at the bombing site or on the street being “subdued” since Monday. “There’s been a lot of waiting,” he said, explaining that people have following every small development in the investigation.

“In downtown Boston, on every corner there are police, military, media, and helicopters. You can’t avoid that this is a really difficult time,” he said.

Rebecca Everett can be reached at reverett@gazettenet.com.

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