Hundreds assembled at sunset yesterday under clouds streaked pink and blue in the Boston neighborhood of Dorchester to light candles and sing songs in the park where 8-year-old Martin Richard played baseball.
They mourned the boy who died with two others in the April 15 bombing of the Boston Marathon and prayed for the three more members of his family who were wounded.
“You can just look around the park to see what this family means” to their neighbors, said Stephen Lynch, Dorchester’s Democratic congressman, who said he’s known Martin’s parents, Bill and Denise Richard, for 25 years.
Martin was killed along with 29-year-old Krystle Campbell of suburban Medford. A Boston University graduate student was also killed, President Robert A. Brown said in an e-mail without releasing the victim’s name.
Investigators yesterday were still trying to determine whether the war-like carnage from the bomb blasts, which President Barack Obama called acts of terror, was the work of a homegrown radical or foreign subversive.
The Richards and their three children were at the marathon to root for local runners at the finish line, Lynch said. The family took a break for ice cream and was back in the cheering crowd when the first bomb went off, he said.
Bill Richard started lifting people over barricades to help them flee, then was felled along with his wife and two of their children when a second bomb went off, Lynch said.
Bill was hit by shrapnel. Denise had eye surgery yesterday, Lynch said. Daughter Jane has “a grievous injury” to her leg, though it wasn’t amputated. “She is still not out of the woods,” Lynch said. Only the eldest son, Henry, was uninjured.
Martin was “everything you want in a little kid,” said Mike Christopher, the boy’s Little League coach. “He pitched. He played shortstop, third base, first base. He could play anything you needed.”
“He was the type of kid you want on your team,” Christopher said. “It’s hard to take.”
Bill Richard released a statement in which he asked for people’s continued prayers.
“We thank our family and friends, those we know and those we have never met, for their thoughts and prayers,” he said. “We also ask for your patience and for privacy as we work to simultaneously grieve and recover.”
More than 170 people were injured in the attack, many of whom were hospitalized with lower-extremity wounds from bombs laden with pellets and nail-like shrapnel. At least 11 people underwent amputations, hospital officials said.
Liz Norden of Wakefield said her two sons each lost a leg in the blast.
“It’s like a nightmare,” she said in an interview with a local television station.
West of Boston in Medford, Krystle Campbell’s mother, Patricia, tearfully addressed reporters outside the family’s home. In a case of mistaken identity, she said she and her husband, William, had initially been told that their 29-year-old daughter was in surgery after the attack. They learned at 4 a.m. yesterday that she had in fact been killed.
“We are heartbroken,” Patricia Campbell said, standing next to her two sons on the family porch behind a single red rose laid on the steps. “She was such a hard worker at everything she did.”
“This doesn’t make any sense,” she said.
Campbell had “beautiful freckles and bright red hair,” said Medford Mayor Michael McGlynn, who said she was a “dream daughter” to her father. A friend, Marc Hordon, posted on his company’s Facebook page that she “was seldom caught not smiling and not expressing her opinion.”
The Summer Shack, a seafood restaurant in Cambridge where Campbell had worked, was “devastated” by her loss, according to a note posted on its Facebook page.
“She was an incredible woman, always full of energy and hard at work, but never too tired to share her love and a smile with everyone,” it said.
The restaurant was closed last night “in honor” of her, a sign on door said.
The third person killed was a graduate student at Boston University, Brown said in an e-mail. The victim’s name wasn’t released. China’s consulate in New York said a Chinese citizen was among the dead. It didn’t disclose the person’s identity at the request of her family, according to the consulate website.
As families of the victims struggled to comprehend the devastation, authorities in Boston continued scouring what they said was the most complex crime scene in the history of the Massachusetts capital. They said they haven’t determined the motive or perpetrators behind the explosions. Evidence suggested the bombs were built inside metal pressure cookers and designed to maim as many people as possible.
Some victims had 40 or more pieces of metal embedded in their bodies, George Velmahos, chief of trauma surgery at Massachusetts General Hospital, said in a news briefing. Doctors there performed four amputations and were monitoring two more at risk of losing limbs, he said.
“We just completed what the bomb had done,” Velmahos said of the amputations.