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Police detonate backpacks at Marathon finish line

Boston police took one man into custody and detonated two backpacks Tuesday night after the packs were found unattended on Boylston Street near the Boston Marathon finish line.

Police said the backpacks were detonated “for precautionary reasons.’’ It was not immediately clear, what, if anything the man would be charged with. He was being questioned by police.

Before the detonations, police ordered an evacuation of the area near the finish line and the police bomb squad arrived at the scene.

At about 9 p.m., police detonated one of the backpacks, spokesman David Estrada said. The loud boom near the finish line, a year to the day after the deadly 2013 Marathon bombings, frightened dozens of bystanders. A second detonation occurred shortly after 9:30 p.m., under a steady rain.


Shortly before the detonation, an officer guarding the scene got into a heated exchange with a man who wanted to cross the police tape to get to his residence.

“There’s a bomb down the street,” the officer shouted to the man. “Do you understand that?”

Art Johnson, 52, of Natick, said he was on Boylston when the first detonation went off. Despite Tuesday night’s events, he said he is not anticipating another terror attack this year.

The MBTA suspended service at about 9:10 p.m. for Green Line trains operating between the Haymarket and Kenmore stations, said spokeswoman Kelly Smith.

Earlier in the day, survivors of last year’s bombings joined rescuers, public officials, and others for a ceremony at the nearby Hynes Convention Center.

Tuesday evening, dozens of onlookers watched the investigation intently on Boylston Street, including some people who wore jackets from last year’s Marathon.

John Makkinje, 21, a Boston University junior who ran in last year’s Marathon, said he was surprised by the evening’s events.

“Hopefully just some wacko,” said Makkinje, who also plans to run in this year’s race. “That’s a really stupid decision.”


Another man, who did not provide his name, was one of several people filming the investigation on a cellphone.

“It’s crazy,” he said. “I’m just on vacation.”

Travis Andersen can be reached at tandersen@globe.com.