Boston resident describes 'ghost town'
It has been four days since bombs were detonated near the finish line during the Boston Marathon, a series of explosions that prompted widespread and immediate terror amongst spectators, runners, and the residents in and around the Boston region.
By Friday, and just before the manhunt for one of the remaining suspects ended, residents had endured a violent evening in Watertown, Mass. in which the two suspects, Dzhokar Tsarnaev and his brother Tamerlan Tsarnaev hurled explosives at pursuers. This violence and a subsequent shootout left Tamerian Tsarnaev dead, while Dzhokar Tsarnaev was able to flee from the scene.
And while investigators on Friday afternoon were still searching for Dzhokar Tsarnaev, while officials continually worked to keep the residents in the Boston region safe and inside their homes.
One Boston resident, 30-year old Eri Sugiyama, described the terror that continued into week's end among area residents, and how the events that unfolded throughout the week seemed like something that "one would see in a movie."
Sugiyama lives in Somerville, Mass. with her fiancé Patrick, just 15 minutes from where the bombings took place on Monday. Sugiyama is also employed by the Spaulding Rehab Hospital and is currently working out of the Cambridge center. The center, she noted, is located five blocks from the bombing suspects' home - an area that has been blocked off by law enforcement officials.
With the suspects at large most of the week and one remaining, residents, according to Sugiyama, were ordered to stay off the streets and stay in their homes. They were also told not to answer their doors for anyone except law enforcement officials.
In Somerville, residents like Sugiyama weren't under the same advisory as those in the Cambridge area, but they were instructed not to leave their homes.
"This advisory came at six o'clock this morning," said Sugiyama. "People are very scared," she added.
Because of her job in the medical field, Sugiyama was required to leave her home and travel to the center in Cambridge. She noted that the streets were empty and quiet.
"Today there was nobody on the road. It was very eerie; I've never seen the streets so quiet," said Sugiyama.
During her commute on Friday, Sugiyama noted that she was a bit unnerved. She described seeing a police car, and immediately becoming nervous. A co-worker, she explained, saw FBI agents on the street and became nervous as well.
At the center where Sugiyama works, their status became what she described as "code disaster" on the day of the bombings; meaning that they should be prepared for an influx of patients to arrive as overflow from the Massachusetts General Hospital based on the number of injuries reported. It never happened, she added.
Throughout the week, she described, those who were working were on edge and were immediately turning to the television on their breaks so they could see if anything new was developing.
Outside, businesses were shut down, transit systems were closed, area schools were closed, and residents were hiding in fear behind the doors to their homes. They were just waiting to find out what was going on, Sugiyama described. They were living in terror.
Even in Somerville, where residents were advised to stay inside and were not mandated as in Cambridge, Sugiyama remained in her home when not working.
"We were thinking of going out," Sugiyama said on Friday, "but all the restaurants and businesses are closed."
In addition to staying behind closed doors and in fear, Sugiyama described the number of calls coming in from family and friends living elsewhere that remained concerned about her safety throughout the week.
"I have family from Japan calling, and friends have been texting," said Sugiyama.
Mostly, for Sugiyama and her neighbors in Boston, it has been the waiting that has kept them on edge. "We just keep watching the television to find out what is going on," Sugiyama added.
Over in Watertown, Mass., the area of the suspects' residence, things have been much worse.
"People in Watertown couldn't sleep because of the shootout last night," Sugiyama said during an interview on Friday. She also was unsure, as of Friday, how long the heightened state of emergency would last for area residents.
"We don't know how long we have to wait for answers," said Sugiyama on Friday.
But when police apprehend the second suspect at approximately 9 p.m. Friday, the fear and unknown was replaced with cheers and celebration. Residents were returning to the streets.
As for the resiliency of the people in Boston, Sugiyama said that they will overcome this.
"Things will get back to normal here," said Sugiyama of Boston, "it's just going to take some time."
Eri Sugiyama was a foreign exchange student in Tioga County, N.Y. during her senior year of high school, and has resided in the Boston region for eight years.