Young victim’s plea for peace

2013-04-17 00:00

A PHOTOGRAPH posted on Facebook of eight-year-old Martin Richard from Dorchester, Massachusetts, said it all.

The young boy was pictured holding a piece of paper with the simple message: “No more hurting people” and “Peace”.

It was not clear when the photograph was taken, but on Monday, Martin was dead, among the three people killed in the Boston Marathon bombing.

At least 176 people were injured.

According to the Boston Globe, the young boy could have cheated death by walking out to hug his dad Bill, who was about to cross the finishing line.

But as his father walked on, Martin rejoined his mother, Denise, his six-year-old sister Jane and 12-year-old brother Henry.

The Mail Online reported yesterday that Martin’s sister lost a leg and his mother was in hospital after undergoing brain surgery. His older brother escaped injury.

Bill Richard told the world in an e-mail yesterday that his little boy had been killed.

“My dear son Martin has died from injuries sustained in the attack on Boston,” he wrote.

“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.”

The photograph was posted on the Facebook page of Lucia Brawley from New York, who said: “He was the student of our dear friend, Rachel Moo.

“His message resonates powerfully today. My prayer is that we all live by Martin’s words, paying tribute to his too-brief, but immeasurably valuable life by following his example.”

The Mail Online spoke to the family’s neighbours, who said when Bill Richard returned home on Monday night to fetch some clothes, he was still wearing his hospital pyjamas and looked like “the walking dead”.

The second victim to be identified was named yesterday as Krystle Campbell of Medford, Massachusetts.

NBC News reported that Campbell’s father, William Campbell, told them early yesterday afternoon that his daughter, who was 29, died as a result of the explosions.

There was no word on the identity, age or gender of the third person who was killed.

There were also reports of other families whose children were caught up in the horror blasts.

The Boston Globe reported that Liz Norden, a mother of five, had just arrived home from grocery shoppping when her cellphone rang.

It was her 31-year-old son, who told her: “Ma, I’m hurt real bad”.

He was in an ambulance being rushed to a hospital and did not know where his 33-year-old brother, who had been standing next to him, was.

He was later found in another hospital. Both sons had lost a leg each.

According to Norden, who did not want to give her sons’ names until she was able to speak to them, both had been standing next to Martin Richard when the bomb detonated.

Her sons had been laid off recently from their jobs, the newspaper said.

According to several reports quoting police sources, the two bombs were made from pressure cookers crammed with shards of metal, nails and ball bearings, hidden in black duffel bags.

The French news agency AFP quoted doctors saying the victims were peppered with nails and pellets.

The most severely wounded needed amputations.

“This bomb obviously was placed probably low on the ground, and therefore lower extremity injuries are to be expected,” said George Velmahos, chief of trauma surgery at Massachusetts General Hospital.

Velmahos said eight patients were in severe condition, with four having undergone major surgery, mostly amputations of lower limbs. But he added they were in stable condition “and thank God they are all alive”.

“Many of them have severe wounds, mostly in the lower part of their bodies, wounds related to the blast effect of the bomb, as well as small metallic fragments that entered their body — pellets, shrapnel, nails,” Velmahos said at a news conference.

Due to the nature of the injuries, the victims suffered rapid loss of blood, which hospital personnel were able to rapidly control, but he said that had created other physiological problems.

He said surgeons amputated four limbs, and two others were at risk, but “I hope we will save those legs”.

“They are in intensive care. They are in critical condition.”

He said those who underwent amputations were so severely damaged by the blast that the limbs were “beyond salvation”.

There were no reports of South African athletes being injured. However, two South African spectators were hospitalised with minor injuries and discharged yesterday, officials said.

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