NH officers thanked for their help in bombing's aftermath
New Hampshire State Police Sgt. Scott Gilbert completed the 2013 Boston Marathon in three hours, 43 minutes and 46 seconds.
There was no measuring the time that followed.
"There was just extreme chaos," Gilbert said Tuesday, just minutes before a national moment of silence marked the solemn anniversary of the Boston Marathon bombings.
Gilbert was one of dozens of New Hampshire law enforcement officers to meet with U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen at Manchester police headquarters to recall what happened on April 15, 2013, and the days that followed.
Gilbert, running his third marathon, said he crossed the finish line on Boylston Street 15 minutes after the bombings. He was one of four troopers from New Hampshire who ran that day. Three had finished; the fourth was Sgt. Sean Haggerty.
"I knew roughly what time he was going to run," Gilbert said. "I was concerned he was going to be right in that immediate area. There was no phone communication. There was no communicating with anyone."
The lack of communication only added to the wait before Gilbert and his colleagues learned that Haggerty had finished the course — crossing it while pushing an injured woman in a wheelchair to a medical tent.
By April 19, members of the Manchester and state police SWAT teams, Nashua's Special Reactions Team and the Seacoast Emergency Response Team joined other agencies in Watertown, Mass., to track down the bombing suspects. Tamerlan Tsarnaev, 26, was killed in a gun battle; Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, now 20, was captured and is awaiting trial.
"The amount of support and the amount of how we all kind of combined as New England was unbelievable and very, very impressive," Manchester SWAT co-leader Nate Boudreau said Tuesday.
Shaheen listened and asked questions during the debriefing session, then asked each officer in the room to stand, introduce himself and what department he represented.
"I know that the citizens of New Hampshire appreciate what you do so much," the Democrat told the group. "And you probably don't hear thanks enough. So any opportunity we can thank you, we want to. So thanks."
Gilbert, who works with the state police Cold Case Unit, will be back in Boston on Monday, running in his fourth marathon along with 12 other members of the State Police.
"It was a no-brainer," Gilbert said.