As the manhunt closed in on the Boston bombing suspects, WPIX was caught in the crosshairs of some riveting television.
Channel 11 took viewers directly into Watertown’s lockdown Friday. Reporter James Ford and his videographer Kenton Young spent nearly 24 hours on the air during the station’s non-stop coverage. Ford says he did not require special access to the “frozen zone” as S.W.A.T. teams and police converged.
“We got lucky,” Ford tells Tuned In. “Our assignment editor Jeff Crianza woke me early—early is relative. I set my alarm for 1:15 and suddenly 12:30, what I thought was my alarm going off, it was Jeff saying we’ve got to go.”
Colleague Jay Dow had 37 hours without sleep, working the night newscasts Thursday before following Ford into Watertown for the broadcast at 4 a.m.
“When we drove into Watertown, it was like the wild, wild West,” Dow says. “Because police were trying to figure out the situation as we were trying to figure out what was happening… They just didn’t know whether the area that we were in was a place we were going to be in some kind of danger. There were pretty tense moments because it was such a fluid situation.”
A gun battle during the overnight hours led to one of the two suspects being killed by police. At 2 a.m. Ford and his cameraman arrived at their still quiet Watertown location as police tightened the dragnet.