WATERTOWN, Mass. -- When her alarm went off at 5:30 a.m. to public radio, as it does every day, Pam Curtis was only half awake, as she is most days.
The first words she said she heard were about a Massachusetts Institute of Technology police officer who had been shot to death. Then the announcer spoke of a chase in Watertown, which is next to her home in Belmont.
When she heard the name of a street a friend lives on, she woke up completely. “I said, ‘Whoa, I better sit up and start listening.’”
Some people stayed awake Thursday night, gripped by the story of the manhunt for the Boston Marathon bombing suspects as it unfolded overnight. But many residents of towns surroundings Boston learned of the night’s fast-moving developments much as Curtis did -- when they awoke Friday morning.
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Authorities said the incident began about 10:30 p.m. EDT Thursday when a MIT police officer was found shot in his vehicle on campus. He died at a hospital, they said.
Soon after the MIT shooting, officials said, Cambridge police received news of a carjacking nearby and gave chase, following two suspects in a Mercedes SUV to Watertown.
During the chase, "explosives were reportedly thrown from [the] car by the suspects," the Middlesex district attorney's office said in a statement. "The suspects and police also exchanged gunfire."
One suspect was wounded, taken into custody and sent to Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, officials said. Doctors there said he arrived under heavy police guard and in cardiac arrest, with gunshot wounds and what appeared to be blast injuries. He was pronounced dead at 1:35 a.m.
The second suspect is on the run and is considered armed and dangerous, authorities said.
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But most of Boston had no idea about the developments through the night. Despite the manhunt going on in the town next door, Curtis still got out of bed and got dressed to go on a planned 6 a.m. walk with a friend in Belmont.
Then the friend texted, she said. The police were asking everyone to remain indoors. Soon after, a recorded message from the Belmont police came, telling everyone to stay inside.
“It’s very strange -- it really is," Curtis said. "When you know there’s a suspect anywhere around."
Curtis said what impressed her the most was that the suspects in the marathon bombing apparently had been found.
“The idea that they’re actually going to catch them. I’m just amazed. What a needle in a haystack."
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Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick shut down all local transportation in Boston and asked those who were at bus or train stations to go home.
In Watertown, officers were going door to door early Friday in the hunt for the at-large suspect. They warned residents to stay inside and not open the door unless an identifiable police officer was on the other side.
Curtis works at a school but said she wasn’t planning to go out Friday, because her school is on a vacation break. However, she said she feels a little uneasy staying at home too.
“The fact that they’ve got all of these explosives doesn’t make you feel too easy if you’re living nearby.”
Just after 7 a.m., downtown Boston was largely deserted, though military and local police were out in force,
Even before Patrick extended the lockdown citywide, Drew Loucks, 30, said his 50-employee financial services firm had told employees they could stay home, given the mass transit shutdown and the fear. He likened the manhunt to a movie or a war zone.
"You don't really feel like you're in Boston," he said, as he walked to work. "It's really scary."
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