BOSTON -- The FBI on Thursday released images of two men who are suspects in the bombings at the finish line area of the Boston Marathon.
The agency, leading the investigation of the bombings that killed three people and injured 170, made public both photographs and video of the men, who were seen in the vicinity of the attack.
The images are the first to be released by investigators, who again asked for the public’s help in their search for suspects. Officials have asked for photographs and surveillance video taken along the Boylston Street finish-line area for Monday's race.
Investigators have also gathered physical evidence, including scraps of black nylon and metal shards that were packed into a pressure cooker, believed to have been transported in a backpack.
The FBI has also found what they believe to be the detonation system for the bombs -- a circuit board and parts from a toy remote-control vehicle, a counter-terrorism official told the Los Angeles Times.
The new images, which represent the first major break in the feverish investigation, were released on the same day President Obama traveled to Boston to console the city in the wake of the terrorist attack.
The FBI is likely running views of the suspects through its facial recognition system, which includes some 13 million images of arrest mug shots, according to federal documents.
It may also be running the pictures through other state, local and foreign databases, some of which contain more than 200 million images, said Jim Albers, senior vice president at MorphoTrust USA. MorphoTrust supplies facial recognition software to the FBI, the Department of Homeland Security, the State Department and various intelligence agencies.
“I believe facial recognition will play a major role in finding these people,” he said.
Facial recognition works best with a frontal image, but images taken from other angles can be manipulated with software so that they can be run through databases. The software takes a series of measurements of facial structure, such as distance between the eyes, to compile a unique profile which can then be compared, like a fingerprint, to a database.
Times staff writer Molly Hennessy-Fiske in Boston contributed to this report.