By Devin Sanchez
Peter Ortez, a Midland native, left the Tall City nearly four years ago to attend Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge.
Ortez was at the Boston Marathon when the bombs went off last Monday.
"Everyone was just like 'oh my God, what is happening?'," he said. "When we heard we needed to leave we were about a half a mile to a mile from the finish line. "
Ortez was also just a block away from where M.I.T. police officer Sean Collier was gunned down.
"Massachusetts Avenue and Vassar, and the police officer was shot on Vassar and Main Street which is one block over," Ortez said
Ortez told NewsWest 9 that the past week was a whirlwind.
"Everyone was very tense, everyone was very anxious," he said. "It felt like a movie. It felt like a video game or a movie."
He said seeing such a major metropolitan area on lockdown was eerie.
"I look out the window and I live on one of the busiest streets in the city and there's nothing. There were very few cars, nobody was walking around. Downtown Boston looked like a ghost town," he explained.
Ortez said after they were given the all clear, the area relaxed a little.
"You could breathe. We had a bunch of people over, we were just kind of celebrating and happy that in someway, we got some closure," he told NewsWest 9.
Still, Ortez said there's been a shift in the city.
"It's not the same, especially when you walk past and you see armored cars. Boylston Street is still fenced off. There's a lot of police presence," he said. "You're going to be guarded obviously. It's never going to be exactly the same."
Despite everything, he said Bean Town is still beaming with pride.