Country singer Jo Dee Messina was thrown into a state of panic when she heard about the horrific shootout in the Boston area on Friday (19Apr13) as her family lives in the Massachusetts town where the gun battle took place.
Officials in the city of Boston and the surrounding areas have ordered a complete lockdown, telling residents to stay indoors, as cops pursue a suspect linked to the devastating bombing at the city's marathon on Monday (15Apr13).
The manhunt was launched on Thursday night (18Apr13) and continued into the early hours of Friday morning (19Apr) when one of two suspects - named as Tamerlan Tsarnaev, 26 - was killed in a shootout, and his 19-year-old brother Dzhokhar went on the run.
Messina, who was born in Framingham, Massachusetts, has relatives in Watertown, a small community which became the centre of the violence, and she spent Friday morning desperately trying to get in touch with her loved ones.
In a post on Facebook.com, she writes, "Omg (of my God)! Woke up to the news of a manhunt in Watertown... That's where the Messinas live. I'm texting my cousin now. They've been in lockdown since last night. She said town is swarming with police, helicopters, and, as she calls them 'army people'. These are my people. Surrounded by chaos. A delayed return of a text makes me nervous."
The singer also reveals her cousin was running the Boston Marathon and was close to the finish line when two bombs went off, killing three people and injuring around 170 more.
She adds, "My cousin Jamie was on her way to the finish line, blocks away from (the) explosion during (the) marathon. In her texts the other day, she told me 'That was the scariest day of my whole life. I still can't sleep or do anything. I just feel fear'. Now this is going on right 'next door' it's been a heck of a week. Please say a prayer for the folks in Watertown."
Actress Eliza Dushku also has family in the area and was terrified for their safety during the chaos. She updated fans on Twitter.com throughout the coverage and added in a post on Friday morning, "My parents are being morning greeted by Swat, friends have bullet holes thru (through) their walls, grenades in front of houses. Surreal. Watertown."