Tributes paid to blast victims

BOSTON, Massachusetts - Boston paid a tearful tribute Tuesday to eight-old-old Martin Richard, a restaurant manager and a Chinese graduate student, all killed in an attack on the US city's marathon.

More than 1,000 people held a candle-lit vigil in a park near the boy's home in the Boston suburbs. Other ceremonies were held in the city for the three dead and at least 180 injured from Monday's attack on the marathon finish line.

Richard has become the face of the tragedy at the marathon finish line that remains largely unexplained to the public. Images of the boy have been given blanket coverage by US media.

But it was also revealed the two bombs killed a Chinese graduate student at Boston University, whose name has not yet been given, and Krystle Campbell, a 29-year-old restaurant manager.

Campbell's family told reporters they were initially told she had survived but only found out the truth when they went to the hospital and found it was Campbell's friend recovering.

"Everybody that knew her loved her," Campbell's mother Patty Campbell, overcome with emotion, told reporters outside her home. "We can't believe this is happening. This doesn't make any sense."

The third victim was a graduate student of Boston University and the Chinese consulate in New York said a Chinese national had died, the state Xinhua news agency reported. Neither the university nor the Chinese authorities gave the victim's identity.

Richard had gone to the race with his family to watch the 23,000 runners cross the finish line.

He was declared dead at the scene while his six-year-old sister, Janey, a keen dancer, lost one leg and was in danger of having the second amputated, US media reported. The boy's mother, Denise, suffered a serious brain injury but was said to be recovering.

In a statement, the father Bill Richard said: "My dear son Martin has died from injuries sustained in the attack on Boston."

"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," he added, while asking for privacy to grieve.

The candle-lit vigil with prayers for the boy was organised in a few hours by friends and relatives of the Richard family.

Another 700 people packed the historic Arlington Street Church, near the scene of the attacks. The church is where the US constitution was adopted in 1788.

"Today we gather here heartbroken and angry", said Reverend Kim Crawford Harvie at the start of the service when the John Lennon song "Imagine" was played.

"But love is bigger than anger. Love is bigger than fear. Love wins," she added.

The Beatles classic "Let It Be" was sang at another vigil on nearby Boston Common where about 500 people gathered at a bandstand where a choir sang and a banner proclaiming "Peace here, Peace everywhere" was put up.

Dozens of wreaths were put up at a barrier on Boylston Street near the bomb scene. People who had run in the marathon also gathered there, some in tears.

Police say the two bombs were believed to have been hidden in pressure cookers in backpacks in the crowds that packed the street on Monday. Many people had legs amputated after the blasts.

No claim of responsibility has been announced and police have not said whether they suspect foreign or domestic terrorists in the attack.

- AFP

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