Alec Shall had just gotten home from work late Thursday night, April 18, when gunshots rang out across his usually quiet neighborhood.
The Barrington native and current Watertown, Mass. resident ran to his front porch and listened to the sound of guns blasting away and bombs exploding.
He looked over at his neighbor who had also ran out onto the adjacent porch and wondered out loud, “Is that really gunfire? Are we hearing gunfire?”
Just a few streets away, the two men suspected of detonating bombs at the Boston Marathon on April 15 were locked in a shoot-out with Watertown Police. Bullets ripped through the air and lodged into parked cars, houses and trees. One alleged bomber was badly injured at the scene and the other fled into the suburban streets of Watertown.
Mr. Shall and his wife Kate retreated to their living room and turned on the television. The newscaster told residents that police were asking residents to stay inside their homes.
On Friday, all of Watertown was on lock-down — people could not leave their homes and were told to stay away from the windows and doors. Mr. Shall and his wife watched television news and tried to follow the manhunt that took place just outside their home. They answered texts and phone calls and wondered what would happen next.
“It was the highest level of stress,” said Mr. Shall, who has family still living in Barrington. “Any time a car drove by or you heard someone outside, you’re up and walking around and trying to find out why those people are outside. The stress was at an all-time high for me.”
He watched as officers combed the neighborhood, checking inside garages, peering into parked cars, searching for the man believed to have killed three and injured hundreds of others just a few days earlier.
“The kind of guns police were carrying I had only seen in video games,” he said. “I have two sets of friends who live closer than I do (to where the alleged bomber was caught). One had a SWAT team come through the yard.”
Mr. Shall, who graduated from Barrington High School in 1992, said the nerve-racking experience seemed to lighten briefly at about 5 p.m., when officials told residents they could go back outside.
“We went out and talked to the neighbors. It couldn’t been more than 10 or 15 minutes then you hear more gunfire. That went on for 30 seconds; about 25 rounds or so. Then my phone’s going crazy again. I started giving a play-by-play: ‘just heard two explosions. just counted up to eight flash-bangs,’” Mr. Shall said.
He and his wife watched the news, and like most of their neighbors breathed a sigh of relief when they heard the alleged bomber had been located and was pinned down. The whole ordeal took place just a few streets away from the Shalls’ home.
“We know where he is — that’s the biggest relief. We know he’s not under my porch,” he said.
Mr. Shall said late Friday night his neighborhood filled with the sounds of cheering residents and honking horns. Text messages shared news of parties at a nearby pub.
“It was a huge sense of relief,” he said.