ByVaria Fedko-Blake, writer at
Staff Writer at Moviepilot! [email protected] Twitter: @vfedkoblake
Varia Fedko-Blake

In December 2016, a dark day in American history will be commemorated by director Peter Berg in Patriots Day. Lead by Mark Wahlberg, J. K. Simmons, John Goodman, Kevin Bacon and Michelle Monaghan, audiences will relive the horror of the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing, which flung an innocent city community into the epicenter of a manhunt following a terrorist attack. Here's the official teaser trailer:

When explosions rocked America a short distance from the finish line at the Boston Marathon on April 15, 2013, unspeakable suffering was unleashed unto the people of the city. Not only did three spectators die, including an 8-year-old boy, but 260 other innocent people were wounded in an act of aggression that continues to haunt us to this day.

Yet, what exactly happened on the fateful sun-drenched day back in April 2013? What is the true story behind the Boston Marathon bombing depicted in Patriots Day? In preparation for the movie's release in early 2017, familiarize yourself with the events below.

The True Story Behind Patriots Day, The Boston Marathon Bombing

A Patriots Day Marred With Bloodshed

Boston Marathon an hour before the bombing | WikiCommons
Boston Marathon an hour before the bombing | WikiCommons

On April 15, 2013, the day marking the 117th Boston Marathon, more than 23,000 participants turned up to test their endurance in the town of Hopkinton, west of the city of Boston. The event had been running for years, commemorating the 1775 battles of Lexington and Concord that sparked the American Revolutionary War that occurred centuries ago.

With the marathon in full swing, at precisely 2:49 in the afternoon, two pressure-cooker bombs hidden in backpacks went off 12 seconds apart amid crowds of spectators near the finish line at Boylston Street. At this point in time, 5,600 runners were still in the race, with many running for cover as the two explosions struck. Here's the news coverage from the deadly attack, provided by an eyewitness who recalled how the impact of the force of the blast threw him to the ground:

Following the attacks, President Barack Obama vowed:

"We will find out who did this. We'll find out why they did this. Any responsible individuals, any responsible groups, will feel the full weight of justice."

See more:

An Intense Manhunt Ensues

Mark Wahlberg as Sgt. Tommy Saunders in 'Patriots Day' | CBS Films
Mark Wahlberg as Sgt. Tommy Saunders in 'Patriots Day' | CBS Films

Reeling from the deadly terrorist attack, more than 1,000 federal law enforcement officers were summoned to find the perpetrators and survey the 15 square block crime scene. Two days later, after scouring hundreds of hours of CCTV footage, FBI detectives began to focus on two men and released surveillance images to the public in a plea for information — in Patriots Day, Mark Wahlberg's character Sgt. Tommy Saunders is at the heart of these proceedings.

Then, news broke that a 27-year-old police officer had been shot dead at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The murder would later be connected to the Tsarnaev brothers (26-year-old Tamerlan and 19-year-old Dzhokhar), who tried to steal Sean Collier's weapon and car. The men then tried to hijack a passing-by SUV, taking the driver hostage and telling him that they were in fact the Boston Marathon bombers.

However, their luck was to quickly run out. After making a brief stop at a gas station in near-by Cambridge, the hostage escaped, calling the police. Tracking the GPS signal of a mobile phone left in the backseat of the vehicle, the FBI were able to follow the Tsarnaev brothers, leading to hundreds of shots being fired on Watertown street, a quiet suburb in Boston.

Boston City Shuts Down

Remembering the Boston Marathon victims | Rebecca Hildreth/Flickr
Remembering the Boston Marathon victims | Rebecca Hildreth/Flickr

Finally, one of the brothers, Tamerlan Tsarneav, was tackled by law enforcement officers, only to be run over by Dzhokhar trying to get away in a stolen SUV. Clinging on to his life, Tamerlan was taken hospital and died a short time after.

Focusing their attention on Dzhokar, the second brother who managed to slip away, police shut down most of the Boston area on April 19. Citizens were advised to stay in their home and businesses were advised to remain closed. As military personnel patrolled the city streets and police officers hastily conducted door-to-door searches, the people of Boston prayed that this nightmare would soon end.

And, just as the imposed curfew was about to be lifted, the police received a call from a resident in Watertown. Venturing out for a few minutes to inspect his boat, David Henneberry came face-to-face with "a man covered with blood under a tarp." Soon after, the police arrived to arrest Dzhokhr Tsarnaev.

Who Were The Tsarnaev Brothers?

The Tsarnaev brothers at the Boston Marathon
The Tsarnaev brothers at the Boston Marathon

Once both suspects were fully accounted for, information regarding the Tsarnaev brothers spread like wildfire through news outlets all over the world.

It came out that Dzhokhar was a sophomore at the University of Massachusetts at Dartmouth and his older brother, Tamerlan, was married man with a young child. Born in the former Soviet republic of Kyrgyzstan, they moved to America in 2002 after their parents applied for political asylum there. Both became naturalized U.S. citizens around 2012.

Although neither were found to have direct ties to any terrorist group, it became apparent that the two brothers had been radicalized and been motivated by extremist Islamic beliefs. They had apparently obtained step-by-step guides on how to build bombs from an online newsletter published by al-Qaeda.

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev Is Sentenced To Death

Florence ADMAX in Colorado, where Dzhokhar is imprisoned | WikiCommons
Florence ADMAX in Colorado, where Dzhokhar is imprisoned | WikiCommons

The true story behind Patriots Day reached a conclusion in July 2013. Despite pleading to not guilty to 30 federal charges against him, the jury returned with a guilty verdict for Dzhokhar Tsarnaev.

After 14 hours of deliberation, the Boston Marathon bomber was sentenced to death on May 15, 2015. In January 2016, a judge also ordered Tsarnaev to pay over $101 million in restitution to the innocent victims of that ill-fated day in April 2013 — a day that will always stand out as a very dark one in American history.

Patriots Day hits theatres on December 21, 2016.


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