Releasing photos can be a mixed bag: It can tip off a suspect and deny police the element of surprise. It can also trigger an avalanche of tips, forcing police to waste valuable time chasing them down.
Within moments of the announcement, the FBI website crashed, perhaps because of a crush of visitors.
In the images, both men appear to be wearing dark jackets. Suspect 1 appears to be wearing a backpack. The planting of the backpack is not depicted in the video footage that was made public.
The FBI made no mention of the men’s height, weight or age range and would not discuss the men’s ethnicity.
“It would be inappropriate to comment on the ethnicity of the men because it could lead people down the wrong path potentially,” said FBI agent Greg Comcowich, a spokesman for the Boston FBI office.
The information on the first suspect was developed within a day or so before its release, DesLauriers said. Agent Daniel Curtin said the FBI did not issue the photos earlier because authorities wanted to be meticulous: “It’s important to get it right.”
At the Cathedral of the Holy Cross earlier in the day, Obama declared to the people of Boston: “Your resolve is the greatest rebuke to whoever committed this heinous act.” He spoke in almost mocking terms of those who commit such violence.
“We finish the race, and we do that because of who we are,” the president said to applause. “And that’s what the perpetrators of such senseless violence — these small, stunted individuals who would destroy instead of build and think somehow that makes them important — that’s what they don’t understand.”
“We will find you,” he warned those behind the attack.
Seven victims remained in critical condition. Killed were 8-year-old Martin Richard of Boston, 29-year-old restaurant manager Krystle Campbell of Medford, Mass., and Lu Lingzi, a 23-year-old Boston University graduate student from China.