Bill Richard returned to his house in Dorchester, Massachusetts, looking like “a walking dead” after losing his 8-year-old son Martin, and wife Denise and 6-year-old daughter Jane were seriously injured in Boston Marathon attacks.
Martin Richard had just got ice cream with his family and had returned to the finish line with them watching runners cross the finish line when he was killed by the second of two terrifying blasts that went off 12 seconds apart at the marathon’s finish line just before 3 p.m. on Monday.
Jane Richard, 6, lost a leg in the explosion and his mother Denise is in hospital after undergoing brain surgery.
Martin Richard’s older brother, 12-year-old Henry, escaped injury while his father suffered minor shrapnel wounds to his legs.
According to the Boston Globe, Martin Richard may have cheated death after walking out to embrace his father who is an avid runner but wasn’t competing in the marathon because of an injury.
When Bill Richard walked on, Martin turned back to rejoin his mother just as the bomb exploded.
Neighbors said Bill Richard returned home still wearing hospital scrubs on Monday night, struggling to come to terms with how, in a few seconds, his family had been ripped apart.
In a statement released on Tuesday, Bill Richard said: “My dear son Martin has died from injuries sustained in the attack on Boston. 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.
“We also ask for your patience and for privacy as we work to simultaneously grieve and recover. Thank you.”
According to NBC News, Bill Richard told a local official that 6-year-old Jane would have also died if not for the heroic efforts of first-responders.
Jane Richard had run in a children’s race on Saturday, neighbor Beth Nagy told NBC. She had won a medal and was “all excited”.
Rep. Stephen Lynch of Massachusetts recounted what happened at the marathon after speaking to a traumatized Bill Richard.
“The kids were all up on the barrier as runners flooded in,” Stephen Lynch said on MSNBC’s Morning Joe.
“They were all focused forward and the blast came from the back and the side.”
“The dad is a runner, but he wasn’t running yesterday,” Stephen Lynch said.
“They were there to support some of their friends who were running.”
Bill Richard is a popular community leader in Dorchester, a Boston suburb. Martin Richard was a keen baseball player, climber and runner and was a member of Savin Hill Little League team.
Martin Richard was among at least three people killed in the bombings. Another 176 were injured with some 17 fighting for their lives. CNN reported that at least 10 victims have needed amputations.
At least nine of the wounded are thought to be children, including a 2-year-old boy who suffered a head injury.
When Bill Richard got home on Monday evening he was unable to speak or even look at his friends and neighbors who were gathered because he was so upset at the death of his son.
He came home for around 10 minutes at 10.30 p.m. to get some clothes.
Bill Richard is on the St Marks Area Main St Group, a local traders association, and his wife Denise is on the neighborhood watch board. The family is well known in the community and attends a nearby church.
Denise Richard also works at the local Neighborhood House Charter School, where Martin and Jane attended. The school’s flag flew at half-mast on Tuesday.
In a statement, the school described Martin Richard as “a bright, energetic” boy who had “big dreams” for his future.
“The Neighborhood House Charter School is mourning today the loss of our beloved student Martin Richard, during the tragic events at the Boston Marathon yesterday,” the statement read.
“He was a bright, energetic young boy who had big dreams and high hopes for his future. We are heartbroken by this loss.
“We are also praying for his mother Denise, our school librarian and sister Jane, another Neighborhood House Charter student, who were seriously injured yesterday. Our thoughts are with his father Bill Richard… and older brother Henry. They are a wonderful family and represent the very best this city has to offer.”
Martin Richard was a former student at the nearby Pope John Paul II Catholic Academy.
In a statement today, the school said: “The Pope John Paul II Catholic Academy community is offering its every prayer for the Richard family during this heartbreaking time. Martin was a former student of the Academy and was a kind, caring, and loving young boy who had great excitement for learning. We are deeply saddened by this tragedy.”