OLOL grad took video of hoax bomber in Boston
BOSTON - A local woman found herself in the midst of national news when she captured video of the Boston Marathon hoax bomber before he was taken into custody Tuesday.
Alicia Anskis, 27, a dietician at the Dana Faber Cancer Institute, Boston, and a graduate of Our Lady of Lourdes Regional High School, was interviewed by ABC's "Good Morning America," "Inside Edition" and a host of other news outlets after posting online the nine-second video she shot of Kevin "Kayvon" Edson while he walked toward the finish line of the Boston Marathon after its commemoration ceremony.
"It certainly has been a crazy couple of days," Anskis said Friday. "I'm glad to be back home where it's quiet."
'A little tense'
Anskis, the daughter of Mark and Nancy Anskis, of Elysburg, remembers the pain the city felt April 15, 2013, when two pressure cooker bombs hidden in backpacks exploded near the finish line of the Boston Marathon, killing three people and injuring 260.
"I was working at Brigham and Women's Hospital and wrapping up for the day when the word came out about the bombings," Anskis said.
"I was planning on heading down there to watch the finish, After all the commotion, I just ended up walking home and trying to decipher it all."
Several of Anskis' family members who were watching the event were knocked to the ground by the blast. Several friends participating in the marathon were stopped about a quarter of a mile from the finish. While Boston waited for news and an arrest in the bombings, she said life became a little more tense.
"The hospitals in the city, including the one I was working at, was on lockdown and it was a little unnerving to see members of the SWAT team covering the entrances to the hospital or to ride in an elevator with two police officers with machine guns. Everyone and everything was just a little tense," Anskis said.
'Thought he was intoxicated'
On Tuesday, Anskis went back to Boyleston Street, the traditional finish of the Boston Marathon, to see what was going on there. Hours earlier, city officials held a commemoration ceremony on the one-year anniversary of the bombings.
It was there she noticed something peculiar.
"I could see this man walking down near Copley Square just yelling, but I couldn't make out what he was saying."
As the man, later identified as Edson, got closer, Anskis noticed his attire. He wore an all-black outfit with no shoes and a black wide-brim hat with netting over top. She said he was yelling, "Boston Strong," a battle cry adopted by the city in the days following the bombings.
"I thought he was intoxicated or something was wrong with him," Anskis said.
She said she observed him wearing a backpack and something triggered in her head. While he got closer to the finish line Anskis whipped out her cell phone and shot a video of him walking and yelling.
"When he got to the scaffolding, two police officers started walking toward him and they had a discussion that I couldn't hear," Anskis said.
Anskis said police started to push people away from the area.
"I thought I would just get on 'the T' (Boston's overhead commuter rail) and head for home, but then they informed us that the T-station was closed, and I thought that this wasn't normal," Anskis said.
Police kept the public from the finish line area for about three hours Tuesday while bomb squad members analyzed the backpack Edson was wearing. They later destroyed the backpack and determined a rice cooker, but nothing explosive, was inside.
In psychiatric hospital
The Associated Press reported Edson was charged Wednesday with threatening battery, possession of a hoax explosive device, threats to commit a crime, disturbing the peace, disturbing a public assembly and disorderly conduct. He was committed to Bridgewater State Hospital, a state psychiatric hospital, on $100,000 bail.
According to a police report read in court, Edson said after being read his rights, "I knew what I was doing; it was conceived in my head. It's symbolism, come on. The performance got the best of me."
Edson's mother said, according to the AP, her son has bipolar disorder.
Glad it wasn't real
"I'm just happy it wasn't real and that it wasn't a repeat of last year," Anskis said. "No one got hurt and the law was on top of the situation."
When she got home, Anskis posted the video to her Twitter and Instagram account. Soon after the media calls starting coming in.
"Fox News was the first to contact me, then ABC, CNN and the AP. All of them responding with calls or messages wanting me to get back to them quickly. "Inside Edition" even called my dad's cell phone. I have no idea how they got that number," she said.
By 10 p.m., Anskis was doing a Skype interview that would be aired on "Good Morning America" the next day and doing phone interviews with "Boston Herald" and other news outlets.
"It's starting to slow down now," Anskis said.
She has noticed that she has a few more followers on Instagram now, and hopefully can use it to her advantage.
"Being a dietician, I hope they like pictures of food. Hopefully, I can get a few more clients out of this," she joked.