U.S. District Attorney Carmen Ortiz is helping lead the investigation regarding the bombings near the finish line at the Boston Marathon on April 15, helping the FBI and state investigators to find the individual or individuals who are responsible for the deaths of three people and the injuries of at least 176 others.
“This is an active and ongoing investigation. But rest assured we are bringing all the necessary resources to assist in this matter and that we will conduct all that we can with all of our law enforcement partners,” said Ortiz at a press conference in Boston on Tuesday morning. “I’ve been in touch with the attorney general several times, Eric Holder, and he has pledged all the resources from the department and others on behalf of the federal government to help Boston recover from yesterday. I ask for your patience and your understanding as we continue to pursue leads, gather evidence to get to the bottom of who did this and why.”
As the very first Hispanic – and woman – to be named to the position of Massachusetts’ chief federal prosecutor, Ortiz is charged with aiding the FBI’s investigation of the bomb attacks and bring what President Barack Obama called “the full weight of justice” to those responsible.
“It will take time to follow every lead and determine what happened, but we will find out,” the president said from the White House on Tuesday. “We will find whoever harmed our citizens, and we will bring them to justice. We also know this: The American people refuse to be terrorized.”
In office since 2009, U.S. Attorney Ortiz recently faced scrutiny for “prosecutorial overreach” in her office’s criminal case against internet entrepreneur Aaron Swartz. Two years after his arrest on federal hacking charges, the 26-year-old committed suicide in January 2013.
“We want to respect the privacy of the family and do not feel it is appropriate to comment on the case at this time,” said Christina Sterling, a spokeswoman for Ortiz said at the time of his death.
Raised in New York City’s Spanish Harlem to Puerto Rican parents, Ortiz entered public service as an attorney with the U.S. Justice Department, followed by as position as an Assistant U.S. Attorney in the Economic Crimes Unit of the U.S. Attorney’s Office. She then worked in private practice before being nominated by President Obama to her current position representing Massachusetts as United States Attorney.
Amidst what has been recognized as one of one of the most gruesome attacks on U.S. soil, Ortiz praised human dignity and sympathy.
“What happened yesterday was a terrible tragedy… It was amazing to see how the city of Boston and people around the world that were part of yesterday’s Boston Marathon help one another and console one another,” said Ortiz. “There are so many moving parts to an investigation such as this and I can’t begin to thank everyone who has been involved.”