WASHINGTON (WUSA9) -- From tender hugs between a runner and his family one moment to sheer terror the next. And in a matter of seconds, explosions forever changed the lives of more than a hundred people and took the lives of three.
As the images in our minds and on our television and iPad screens continues to play, many of us are wondering who could hold so much hate?
We posed this question to two top anti-terrorism experts in our area.
Larry Johnson, former CIA analyst, says, "Figuring out what the specific type of high explosive will be telling. When you see the sequence and the red white flame that's at the center of this, it tells you something about the nature of the explosive. It is likely a high explosive, not a low grade explosive like ammonium nitrate. Then when you see 20 -40 seconds of each other, there really has only been one group that's made it's hallmark of doing coordinated bombings, and that has been Al Qaeda."
To be clear, no one has come forward to claim responsibility.
The FBI is now taking the lead, calling this a potential terrorism investigation. Johnson has a good point, "One of the problems with this, people will jump to conclusions, I was around on-air doing commentary on the 1996 bombing in the Olympic Park and at that point Richard Jewel was fingered immediately as a suspect."
We all know now that he was exonerated later, and a man by the name Eric Robert Rudolph is now serving life in prison for that attack. But, it's fair to say a shadow hung over Jewel until his death.
Ed Clark is a security expert. He says he knows what investigators will focus on, "They'll be evaluating the bomb blast pattern, they'll be evaluating the device that they recovered."
Clark echoes Johnson's caution. "It could very well be that lone wolf sleeper, didn't really let a lot out, maybe a handful of individuals who may be involved as perpetrators. We don't know."
What we do know, without an ounce of doubt is that what was supposed to be the ultimate triumph in human ability and perseverance ended up the ultimate low in despicability and cowardice.
Johnson says we may have our answers soon, "I think it's highly likely that within 24 hours somebody at some level is going to know or have a pretty good idea who carried his out."