Montreal Gazette

‘What a beautiful smile he had’

Family, city, nation left to grieve


BOSTON — As Martin Richard wandered onto Boylston St. to greet his father with a toothy smile and a hug at the finish line of the Boston Marathon, he was a picture of childish joy.

Moments later, however, this bright and cheerful 8-year-old, who loved playing football and riding his bicycle, was taken away in a flash of violence that shattered his family and left a city grieving.

A pressure cooker, packed with explosives and metal, and stuffed into a black duffel bag, blew up on the pavement to which Martin had returned to be with his mother, Denise, sister, Jane, and brother, Henry.

As Bill Richard passed the finish line yards away, the explosion claimed his son’s life, tore off one of 5-yearold Jane’s legs and delivered a blow to the head that gave Denise Richard, 43, serious brain injuries.

Within 12 seconds, a second duffel bag bomb exploded further down the road, tearing into another section of pavement packed with crowds celebratin­g the race on Patriots Day, a public holiday in Massachuse­tts.

No person or group has yet claimed responsibi­lity for the atrocity, which killed three people and injured 176, and authoritie­s are yet to establish a motive.

Bill Richard, a 42-yearold neighbourh­ood activist, spoke of his heartbreak Tuesday as he lamented the loss of his “dear son.”

“We thank our family and friends, those we know and those we have never met, for their thoughts and prayers,” he said in a statement. “I ask that you continue to pray for my family as we remember Martin.”

A candle was burning last night outside the Richards’ home on a quiet street in Dorchester, a mixed neighbourh­ood of Boston, where a single word had been chalked on to the path by a neighbour: “Peace.”

The same slogan was carefully written on a colourful poster drawn by Martin last year in a class at Neighborho­od House charter school. “No more hurting people,” he wrote across the top of the page.

“They are just the sweetest, greatest kids,” Holly Moulton, a teacher at the school, said, choking back tears after laying flowers at their door. “Always so happy and full of life.”

Krystle Campbell, 29, who had been watching her boyfriend run the marathon, was named last night as the second spectator to have been killed in the attacks.

Her father, William, described his daughter, who worked for a restaurant consultanc­y firm, as a “wonderful, wonderful girl,” loved by her friends and family, and always “willing to lend a hand.”

“My daughter was the most lovable girl,” William Campbell told reporters.

“She helped everybody and I’m just so shocked right now. We’re just devastated.”

Of the victims, 17 were in a critical condition in hospital, severely wounded by shrapnel such as nails and ball bearings from the six-litre cookers.

Medics said the bombs appeared to have been designed to cause maximum human carnage.

No other victims’ names were released.

As investigat­ors struggled to identify the bombers, U.S. President Barack Obama described the attacks as “an act of terror” and promised that Americans would respond “selflessly, compassion­ately, unafraid.”

Classes have been cancelled this week at Martin’s school, where Denise Richard, a neighbourh­ood watch official, worked as a librarian and read books to young pupils in a voice that “brought stories to life.”

Residents of the family’s neighbourh­ood, once home to president John F. Kennedy’s mother, Rose, gazed into the distance Tuesday from the doorsteps of Civil War-era homes.

Several appeared to be holding the hands of their own children a bit tighter.

Betty Delorey recalled Martin hopping over the fence outside his house and clambering up trees.

Jane Sherman remembered the 8-year-old heading out to play baseball with the father he adored.

“What a beautiful smile he had,” said Darren McNair, 51, whose son, Tyler, played football with Martin.

“I will always remember seeing it from across the field. What a senseless, senseless tragedy.”

Officials from the FBI, police and other law-enforcemen­t agencies were also struggling to make sense of the bombings Tuesday, as they appealed for witnesses to submit photograph­s and video footage.

“This was a heinous and cowardly act,” Obama said in remarks delivered at the White House.

Senator Elizabeth Warren, a Harvard University professor who represents Massachuse­tts in Washington, said Boston was a “family in pain” following the attacks.

OTTAWA — Nearly eight in 10 Canadians remain concerned about terrorism in the world, but a lesser number — 55 per cent — worry about domestic threats, according to a new poll.

The poll, conducted for the Associatio­n for Canadian Studies, also showed that immigrants and nonimmigra­nts in Canada are divided on the root causes of terrorism, and just as divided over how well the federal government is doing to combat terrorist activities.

The numbers, however, haven’t changed much over the past 12 months and are based on polling done before Monday’s bombings in Boston.

“Really, there’s something about the concerns about terrorism that’s quite stable for the past year and that’s because there have been no big events that have modified people’s anxieties about terrorism,” said Jack Jedwab, executive director of the Associatio­n for Canadian Studies based in Montreal.

But the polling figures suggest that even as the number of acts of terrorism worldwide has declined, anxiety about terrorism hasn’t seen an equal decline, Jedwab said.

“There’s sort of this distinctiv­e feeling on the part of Canadians … that the phenomenon is continuall­y on the increase even if there’s no substantia­l evidence to support that,” he said.

Worries about terrorist attacks at home were less of a concern than worries about threats abroad, according to the poll. About 81 per cent were worried about global terrorism while 36 per cent of respondent­s were not too worried and nine per cent were not concerned at all.

Domestic efforts to combat terrorism received mixed votes.

Of respondent­s who were born in Canada, 38 per cent believed the federal government was doing well in combating terrorism at home, while almost 44 per cent of respondent­s born outside the country felt the same way. Just over one-third of respondent­s from each category disagreed that the government’s efforts were working well, and about 22 per cent didn’t answer.

Thirty per cent of respondent­s born outside Canada and about 32 per cent born in Canada felt internatio­nal efforts to combat terrorism were working well.

“It basically shows there aren’t substantia­l difference­s in how immigrants and non-immigrants see these issues,” Jedwab said.

The poll of 2,002 Canadians through an online panel in March was conducted by Léger Marketing and has a margin of error of 2.9 per cent, 19 times out of 20.

 ?? JARED WICKERHAM/ GETTY IMAGES ?? A Boston police officer lifts the tape for a family to leave flowers in front of the home of the Richard family.
JARED WICKERHAM/ GETTY IMAGES A Boston police officer lifts the tape for a family to leave flowers in front of the home of the Richard family.
 ?? BILL RICHARD/ THE ASSOCIATED PRESS ?? Martin Richard, 8, was at the scene to cheer on his father in the marathon. His mother suffered brain injuries.
BILL RICHARD/ THE ASSOCIATED PRESS Martin Richard, 8, was at the scene to cheer on his father in the marathon. His mother suffered brain injuries.

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