Former Panhandle resident opens up about Boston shutdown - KWES NewsWest 9 / Midland, Odessa, Big Spring, TX: newswest9.com |

Former Panhandle resident opens up about Boston shutdown

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Friday was a long and terrifying day for the residents of Boston as law enforcement zeroed in on the second suspect in this week's marathon bombing.

NewsChannel 10 was in contact with a former Panhandle resident now living in Boston on Friday, who described some of those intense moments from a citizen's perspective. But amidst the terror, he says, he saw a little piece of home - a community pulling together.

"I didn't go to bed at all," said 26-year-old Tim Vela. "I just kept following the news channels, turned on a police scanner for Boston."

It was a night of little sleep for Dalhart native and former WTAMU Student Body President Tim Vela.

"The Watertown shootings were about three miles west, southwest from here and in relation it's actually very close," he said describing how far his apartment was from the shootings. "I got tons of phone calls from family and friends. That was a scary situation because you didn't know whether or not people were alive."

Vela, serving as Amarillo's eyes in Boston, captured video on his phone before the lock down was lifted, streets - empty, a sight he called "eerie". But throughout it all, Vela says he's seen the glimmer of a silver lining.  One that reminds him...of home.

"I think growing up in a small town you tend to be very close to the people and you know everyone and moving to Boston was very different because people were so removed from each other," said Vela. "But I think after these events, people have really worked together to come together and make things better for each other."

"Seeing that close knit community almost like Amarillo?" NewsChannel 10 asked him.

"Yeah, yeah you really do," confirmed Vela. "To see that many people really working together, is very cool."

NewsChannel 10 spoke with Vela early Friday afternoon before the lock down was lifted or the suspect caught. At the time he said he had complete faith in the Boston police, something now almost all Bostonians can say with certainty.

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