The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

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April 16, 2013

Marathon bombing victim, 8, recalled as spirited

BOSTON — 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 found extensive vascular and bone damage.

"Unfortunately my son was just in the wrong place at the wrong time," his father, Jeff Bauman, wrote in a Facebook post.

The younger Bauman, who had been at the race to cheer on his girlfriend, had 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. "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 and his 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.

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