A Brookfield native is one of thousands whose communities in Massachusetts were placed on lockdown Friday while authorities search for the only living suspect in the Boston Marathon bombings.
Adrianne Neiss, who grew up in Brookfield and graduated from Brookfield High School, said Friday from her home in Arlington, Mass. that her community, about seven miles from Boston, is on lockdown.
Neiss, 30, said she works less than a half-mile from where a Massachusetts Institute of Technology police officer was fatally shot by the suspects, which has prompted a massive manhunt in Watertown, Mass. and the surrounding area.
“I guess I was just kind of nervous,” Neiss said. “I made sure my doors in my house were locked. To see this happen a couple streets away from my work, it’s right where I go every day.”
Neiss said her employer emailed her this morning and told employees to stay at home.
Since, she’s been watching television to get updates on the manhunt.
Neiss said she normally attends the Boston Marathon but was out of state Monday. She said she would have attended if other plans hadn’t interfered.
“I was relieved I wasn’t there, because I know I would have been,” she said. “It’s a really scary thing and tragic that it did happen. I was just really thankful I was not.”
Neiss said tensions have been high in the city since but most are carried on normally until Friday morning. She said men armed with assault rifles and wearing camouflage gear had been stationed at her subway stop near MIT.
Tekla Toman, 25, of Ellsworth moved to Cambridge, Massachusetts more than a year ago. She lives only a mile away from Watertown. Toman said she got a text alert from the local news station overnight informing her that her neighborhood was on lockdown.
“They tell you to lock down, and you’re in a neighborhood and you’re used to seeing people everywhere,” said Toman. “We have a park across the street from us. There’s always kids everywhere I live, and it’s just so weird because no one is out. It’s like a ghost town, really creep.”
Amy Malkoff of Liberty lives about 40 minutes away Watertown in the small town of Marblehead. She’s been keeping up with the story through TV and social media.
Malkoff said she’s moved by the level of camaraderie she’s seen since the tragedy.
“People are really banding together and sort of checking in to see how each other are doing to make sure everybody’s safe, and it’s just sort of heartening to see everybody do that,” said Malkoff. “I want to see the person or people who’ve done this caught, so everyone can feel safe and we can start moving on.”
The women have checked in with their families here at home. They look forward to things getting back to normal.