Originally Posted Online: April 19, 2013, 9:16 pm
Last Updated: April 19, 2013, 11:28 pm

Former Geneseo resident sees Watertown police action first-hand

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By Kevin Smith, ksmith@qconline.com

Photo: TS Hart
A tactical police officer checks the Watertown, Mass., home of Scott Hart, formerly of Geneseo, early Friday. Mr. Hart said officers searching for a suspect in the Boston Marathon bombing seemed focused on residents' safety and seeking anything that seemed out of place. Mr. Hart said police allowed residents to share photos with friends and family during Friday's house-to-house search, but could not disclose the exact location of the photos.

A former Geneseo resident found himself uncomfortably close to the action Friday morning in Boston.

Scott Hart, of Watertown, said he heard a crash around the time his girlfriend was going to bed. What he initially thought was a car crash was followed by another crash about a half-block away, and finallyby gunfire and a large explosion, he said.

Outside he saw more than 100 armed police officers on both ends of his street, instructing residents to stay inside, he said.The neighborhood is known for being particularly quiet, he said. But at 4:30 a.m. Friday, helicopters could be heard overhead.

He and his girlfriend watched a live broadcast of police searching for the remaining Boston Marathon suspect right outside his front porch, he said.

"They were scouring every inch of the place," Mr. Hart said. "We're sitting down watching this, and what's happening is about ahalf a block away."

Tactical officers visited his home three times within 10 hours while routinely traveling from apartment to apartment, he said.

"They were extremely professional and extremely calm," Mr. Hart said, noting officers never entered his home. Police seemed more concerned with making sure everyone was okay, he said, while looking for anything out of the ordinary.

Mr. Hart is no stranger to police responses for tragedies. He was in Manhattan during the September 11th attacks and, before that, in Paris during the 1995 Metro bombing.

"I've seen a lot of stuff in my life, but this is the largestoperation of its kind that I've seen since 9-11," he said.

After Boston police announced the arrest of the second bombing suspect Friday night, Mr. Hart said he "couldn't be prouder to live in Boston.

"There is a sense of pride and friendliness here that I haven't seen in many places," he said. "The way this all went down here with the community working with the authorities just wouldn't have happened in other places the same way."