Third-grader Martin Richard had just gotten ice cream and was near the Boston Marathon finish line, eagerly watching for friends to run by. Krystle Campbell was enjoying the race with her best friend, hoping to get a photo of the other woman’s boyfriend after he conquered the last mile.
Then the unthinkable struck. The spirited 8-year-old, pictured on Facebook in his classroom holding a sign that read “No more hurting people,” was dead, along with the outgoing 29-year-old woman and a graduate student from China — victims of twin bombs that turned a scene of celebration into chaos.
More than 170 others suffered injuries that included severed limbs, shrapnel wounds, broken bones and head trauma.
Jeff Bauman Jr., a man pictured in an Associated Press photo being rushed from the scene Monday in a wheelchair, lost both legs. Rescuers took the 27-year-old to Boston Medical Center, where doctors had to amputate because of extensive vascular and bone damage.
“Unfortunately my son was just in the wrong place at the wrong time,” his father, Jeff Bauman Sr., wrote in a Facebook post.
The younger Bauman, who had been at the race to cheer on his girlfriend, had to have further surgery because of fluid in his abdomen.
“I just can’t explain what’s wrong with people today, to do this to people,” the father wrote of the dark-ness that stained the race. “I’m really starting to lose faith in our country.”
While mourning the dead Tuesday, friends and neighbors tried to focus on positive memories of cherished ones whose deaths still seemed unreal to them.
“I just can’t get a handle on it,” said Jack Cunningham, a longtime friend of little Martin’s family. “In an instant, life changes.”
Cunningham recalled how, as a pint-sized preschooler, the boy had insisted on getting out of his stroller during a 5K race in South Boston. As soon as his mom let him out to run with the rest of the family, Martin took off along the rainy race course.
The boy’s father, Bill Richard, released a statement thanking friends, family and strangers for their support after his son’s death.
Richard’s wife, Denise, and the couple’s 6-year-old daughter, Jane, suffered serious injuries in the blasts. Their older son, Henry, wasn’t hurt. Two neighbors said Jane lost one of her legs in the attack.
“My dear son, Martin, has died from injuries sustained in the attack on Boston,” Richard said. “My wife and daughter are both recovering from serious injuries. We thank our family and friends, those we know and those we have never met, for their thoughts and prayers. I ask that you continue to pray for my family as we remember Martin.”
U.S. Rep. Stephen Lynch, a family friend, said Martin and his family were trying to get over the race barriers and into the street after the first blast, when the second bomb struck.
“They were looking in the crowd as the runners were coming to see if they could identify some of their friends when the bomb hit,” said Lynch, who has known the Richards for 25 years.
On Tuesday, a candle burned on the stoop of the family’s home in the city’s Dorchester section. At a nearby park, the words “Pray for Martin” were written in large block letters on the pavement.
Boston University said one of the victims was a graduate student who was watching the race with friends at the finish line, which is not far from the school. The Chinese Consulate in New York said the victim was a Chinese national, though it did not identify the student. A Hong Kong broadcaster reported the student was a woman from Shenyang studying statistics. The official Chinese news agency Xinhua reported her relatives have requested she not be identified.
In nearby Medford, William Campbell, described his daughter, Krystle, as the light of his life, “a caring, very loving person.”
His wife, Patty Campbell, her voice breaking, said the couple was “heartbroken at the death of our daughter.”