Local native safe in Boston

Michael Dwyer/Associated Press
An unidentified resident of Norfolk Street in Cambridge, Mass., spoke with police this morning. Two suspects in the Boston Marathon bombing killed an MIT police officer, injured a transit officer in a firefight and threw explosive devices at police during a getaway attempt in a long night of violence that left one of them dead and another still at large today.

Herald Staff Writer

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. — Ben Braunecker, who graduated from Forest Park High School in 2012, was safe and locked down in his dorm room at Harvard University this morning.


The 19-year-old son of Kristine and Brian Braunecker of Ferdinand is a freshman studying molecular and cellular biology.

“A large amount of people from home have been contacting me,” he told The Herald this morning. “Many people are waking up and seeing this harrowing news report and fearing for all the people’s safety in this area, including mine.”

One of the people he talked to this morning was his mother.

“He’s behind three locked doors, the gates are locked and guards are posted,” she said.

She didn’t know about the overnight developments in Boston until she turned on the news around 7 a.m. this morning. That is when she learned that the police were pursuing an armed and dangerous suspect in the Boston Marathon bombings; another suspect had been killed. She also learned the suspects robbed a convenience store on the Massachusetts Institute of Technology campus and killed a campus officer Thursday night.

“That is literally 5, 10 minutes away from Harvard,” she said. “We’ve stayed there when we visited him.

“That’s when everything went into slow motion.”

Kristine knew that her son walks about a mile from his dorm to the school’s football complex every day for 6:30 a.m. football practice. “He’d be out in this, at practice,” she said.
She immediately called him, and was relieved to hear his voice.

“He said everything was canceled and that they’re on lockdown,” she said.

Matt Rourke/Associated Press
A police officer pointed his weapon at a residence as he conducted a search for a suspect in the Boston Marathon bombings this morning Watertown, Mass. The two suspects in the Boston Marathon bombing killed an MIT police officer and hurled explosives at police in a car chase and gun battle overnight that left one of them dead and his brother on the loose, authorities said today as thousands of officers swarmed the streets in a manhunt that all but paralyzed the Boston area.

Ben said there were many reports asking residents to stay indoors this morning, but Harvard did not officially close until 8 or 9 a.m.  He will use the unexpected break to take care of homework.

“I have quite a lot of work to complete this weekend,” he said. “It will  be difficult to fully concentrate, but I will try.”

Charles Krupa/Associated Press
Tactical teams exited an apartment building while searching for a suspect in the Boston Marathon bombings in Watertown, Mass., today.

Ben said Cambridge, the Harvard campus and the area surrounding it are unnaturally quiet.
“Cambridge is dead. Harvard’s campus is dead,” he said. “What is usually a busy and active street, Massachusetts Avenue, is now only populated by security forces.”

Kristine was relieved that her son is safe, but she still had concerns, especially since the second suspect was still at large.

“How many weapons and explosives does this guy have? What else could he do? I’m just being a worried mom,” she said. “I’m concerned about the unknowns, more than anything.”

Herald Staff Writer Alexandra Sondeen contributed to this report.

Contact Candy Neal at cneal@dcherald.com.


Matt Rourke/Associated Press
A police officer evacuatd a shoeless man holding a child as members of law enforcement conduct a search for a suspect in the Boston Marathon bombings today in Watertown, Mass.

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