On the morning of April 23, 2013, Watertown, Massachusetts, resident Andrew Kitzenberg (@AKitz) posted a MEDIA ALERT offering to the world, under a Creative Commons license, 16 digital photos he took on April 19 of the Watertown shootout between the Boston Marathon bombers (who I’m calling the Brothers Tsarnaev) and the police. (This was merely the first Watertown gunfight of April 19; later in the day the epic “Gunfight at the Shrink-Wrapped Boat” occurred.)
Mr. Kitzenberg posted the photos on this page, along with his narrative about the photos and the events he witnessed. Mr. Kitzenberg’s only conditions were that any reuse of the photos credit him as the photographer, and include a mention of the website of his company (www.getonhand.com) which is fundraising for the ONE FUND Boston.
Many bloggers, including Glenn Reynolds (Instapundit), linked to that page. Then Mr. Kitzenberg appeared on CNN, giving a detailed interview about his photos (video here). Then, somewhat oddly, Mr. Kitzenberg deleted all the photos from his website (leaving the descriptions intact), offering a crytic explanation:
UPDATE 3:20PM 4/23/2013: I have decided to take down the photos during the ongoing investigation.
Right now (about 10 p.m. Central time), the photos are still viewable in Google cache. To ensure they will be permanently viewable in their original context, the original page is recreated below (which, of course, is permitted by the Creative Commons license). First, however, a sampling of the hundreds of comments left for Mr. Kitzenberg in the last few hours, some of them quite critical, most of which he deleted shortly after they were made (but not before I copied them!).
Can you please elaborate on your thinking in taking down the pics? Did someone ask you to? How is it even possible that taking the pictures down assists the investigation? I’m sorry, that doesn’t make any sense whatsoever. Of course I could be missing something obvious. In other countries, with no freedom of the press, sometimes a court will require that pictures or news be blocked in order to ensure a fair trial. Is that your reasoning? You’re concerned that you might bias a future jury with your photos? . . . Dude, what is up? Who are your pictures embarrassing? You know what I do see a hell of a lot of? Police unreasonably and illegally demanding that people not take or share pictures of them. That’s what I think is going on here. Set us straight.
Took the pics down because of the ongoing investigation? Bullshit, you sold them. Duh.
It’s funny right after you were interviewed on CNN you decided to take down the pics. I could see the $ signs during the interview, how much are you going to donate to the fund after selling the pics
He took down the pics because he sold them. Check out the credits on this website http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2313429/New-pictures-reveal-Boston-bomber-brothers-dramatic-shootout-police.html. I hope you sold them for a good amount. Good job!
The photos can be seen here: http://www.cbsnews.com/2300-201_162-10016620-3.html
The Huffington Post has the pictures and they are remarkable. I live a few blocks from where this happened and it is still such a shock. So proud of the men and women who risked their lives to keep us all safe. We will be forever grateful!
You decided to take pictures when it is more convenient to video record it. Makes sense.
I really wish you would not have taken down the pics. It was the best evidence against the #freejahar crowd that we had.
These photos were taken on a sound stage. The street doesn’t exist. It’s all lies from the government. The whole thing is a CIA operation that went wrong. They killed the first guy, now they’ve shut the second one up by removing his vocal cords. Can’t you morons see this? The guy who took theses pictures is an NSA plant, among others who have taken to social, media etc. to manage perceptions. It’s the oldest trick in the book.
Oh, did I just say a bunch of idiotic sh*t? I meant to say ALL YOU CONSPIRACY THEORY NUTTERS ARE BRAIN DEAD. MUSLIM TERRORISTS DID IT, ONE WAS KILLED, THE OTHER’S IN CUSTODY. PERIOD.
Those cops have horrible aim if a bullet came in your 2nd floor wall.
Too bad you didn’t have a weapon . . . you had a clear view of them. You could have taken them both out with two well-placed shots.
Ever think what would have happened if you were a citizen with a rifle, instead of a citizen with a camera?
WOW! What amazingly CLOSE and CLEAR pictures. That took some real guts. One wonders though, why one Earth you wouldn’t grab YOUR RIFLE instead?! FFS, you could have ended that right there – even if you weren’t a great shot. Two psychotic terrorist scumbags shooting your neighborhood up, blowing it up, killing your local cops, and when given a perfect tactical position both above and flanking them, you grab your camera? God have mercy on us all, if our nation is full of those brave enough to stand there and take pictures of their homes and neighborhoods being destroyed, but not brave enough to fight to protect them.
The ethical thing to do when the good guys (police) are being shot at is to get your rifle and shoot each terrorist once in the head in order to stop further loss of life. Not doing so is unethical.
Don’t have a rifle? That’s also unethical. Unarmed people are serfs of the state.
Maybe he didn’t grab a rifle and start shooting people because he was probably scared to death and not even 100% sure of what really was going on. The pictures are all over CNN and Andrew the owner of the pics explains every shot he took. I doubt I would have been brave enough to even take a picture, and neither would most of you have been so why do people on here gotta sling name calling and disrespect? These guys are serious terrorists, they didn’t care who they killed and I don’t blame Andrew , I would have laid low and crawled under the nearest rock I could find. So who’s gonna dis on me now?? If you need to down on anyone in this whole thing how bout turning your hate to the FBI (FUCKING BUNCHA IDIOTS) they should have nailed this older brother years ago, they let him slip through their grip and now look, our whole country is in upset to say the least over these two maniacs. Yes the people on here are really UNBELIEVABLE!!!!
If he’d tried to shoot at the suspects, he probably would have been arrested. He definitely would have been arrested had he hit one or both of them. Don’t try to tout how much better you would have been in the situation unless you have been in a comparable scenario, otherwise you just look like a dick.
You should go back and delete any of the comments which are rude, stupid and insulting to you. These morons don’t deserve a forum. Just ignore the ignorant bastards. You are very brave to have gotten these pictures; I hope that you have turned these over to the authorities; you should get full credit from the media when they air these. You done good!
[HERE, NOW, ARE THE DELETED PHOTOS, ACCOMPANIED BY MR. KITZENBERG’S NARRATIVE]
On Thursday night [Friday morning] at 12:45am EST. I was in my living room working on my computer when I heard multiple “pops” coming from outside. At that point, I had no idea that I was about to become an eye witness to the biggest news story in the country.
When I looked outside my window, I could clearly see two people (the Tsarnaev brothers) taking cover behind an SUV and engaging in gunfire. After witnessing shots being fired I promptly ran up the stairs to my 3rd floor bedroom to distance myself a little further away from the gunfire. As I ran into my room, overwhelmed by shock, adrenaline, and curiosity, I jumped onto my bed to stay below the windows but also have a clear view at the shooters and photograph the event. As soon as I was laying safely on my bed I started taking pictures with my iPhone 5 and captured the following images that documented the terrifying shootout with the Tsarnaev brothers, which then led to an overnight citywide manhunt.
Here are the two brothers taking cover behind the black Mercedes SUV and shooting towards Watertown Police officers. (Taken at 12:46:11AM)
The shooters were also driving the green sedan on the left. They had the back passenger door open and were going back into the car where they had additional supplies (assumingly, more ammunition and explosives). They also had backpacks at their feet where they also had additional supplies.
This is a view from the west-facing window in my bedroom and at the end of the block (Laurel St.) you can see multiple police vehicles. These vehicles were about 75-80 yards from the shooters. (Taken at 12:46:25AM)
Here it’s clear to see the brothers taking aim and firing on the officers. (Taken at 12:47:57AM)
This is a zoomed in view from the last image. The red circle highlights the pressure cooker bomb that was used just moments after this photo was taken. The use of this explosive created an enormous cloud of smoke that covered the entire street. While the street was still cloudy with smoke one of the brothers started running down the street towards the officers, while still engaging them in gunshots. As he got closer to the officers, within 10 -15 yards of them he was taken down. From my vantage point I did not see whether he was tackled to the ground or brought down by gunshots.
As the one brother was running toward the officers the second got back into the SUV, turned it around in the street and proceeded to accelerate at the vehicle barricade. This image shows the black SUV charging the officer vehicles. (Taken 12:50:57AM)
This is a zoom-in from the last image and the red circle highlights where one of the brothers was taken down and still laying in the street. The black SUV proceeded to accelerate towards the officers and drove in between the two cars at the top of the picture. The SUV side swiped both cars taking out doors and windows and ultimately broke through the vehicle barricade and continued driving west on Laurel St. This was the last I saw of the black SUV.
This image was taken from the east-facing window. As soon as the black SUV had left the street officers rushed toward the green sedan and the spot of the shooting. As soon as officers got to the vehicle they started alerting all others on scene that there were “IEDs” on the street and for everyone examining the scene to clear the entire street. Also pictured at the bottom of the image is a Watertown Police SUV that had crashed in our driveway at the start of the gunfight and had many of its windows shot out. (Taken 12:57:52AM)
At the bottom of this image is the blast mark from the pressure cooker bomb that exploded in the middle of the street. At the top of the image, the bright light is a bomb detecting robot that was moving toward the blast mark. (Taken at 1:20:10AM)
Here bomb squad personnel inspect the blast mark of the large explosion. (Taken 1:39:22AM)
Here heavily armed agents are still in search of the suspect on Laurel St. (Taken 2:14:54AM)
Here is the bomb detecting robot inspecting the vehicle from the back right passenger seat. (Taken at 2:49:19AM)
After shooting had stopped my roommate found a bullet hole that penetrated his west-facing wall and continued to pierce through his desk chair. His room is on the 2nd floor corner of the house, closest to the street, with west and south facing walls
The bomb squad had finally inspected the entire vehicle and all the backpacks beside it and have cleared the area. (Taken 5:45:25AM)
Armed Agents searching and evacuating all homes on Laurel St. They evacuated ours shortly after this photo was taken. (Taken at 6:01:17AM)
After being evacuated from our home, we spent a long and emotionally straining day in our neighbor’s house down the block. My roommates and I are all very grateful that we made it through such a terrifying event unharmed. These kind of horrifying events make you realize how precious life really is and the need to cherish every moment you have. You quickly reflect on the people that surround you and how important those relationships are in your life. I know I am truly blessed to have my health and safety after this horrible event and am thankful for every person that has touched my life. Thank you to all of my family, friends, and the incredible number of people who reached out with love and support.
P.S. Thanks to Acceleration Partners & Growth Spark for all their help and advice.
OnHand has designed and begun production on 8GB BOSTON STRONG USB Wristbands which will be ready for delivery starting May 6th. ALL proceeds collected from the sales of these BOSTON STRONG USB wristbands will be donated to The One Fund Boston, Inc. to help those victims who were most affected by the events in Boston. Please click the graphic below to purchase or visit http://www.getonhand.com/products/boston-strong-usb-wristband