Martin Richard was standing with his family near the Boston Marathon finish line to cheer on family friends when an explosion took his life. He was 8-years-old and in the third grade.
Hundreds attended a candlelight vigil held Tuesday evening at Garvey Park in Dorchester to remember the young boy. msnbc’s Lawrence O’Donnell returned to his hometown to attend the vigil and see how the suburban community is coping.
“I can’t believe it happened,” said a classmate of Martin’s. “It’s really sad.”
Her mother told O’Donnell how the parents in the community were feeling. “We were up to almost midnight last night talking to other parents just because it is just such a close neighborhood, you know. And they’re such a wonderful family. I mean, so… it’s terrible.”
Krystal Campbell, a 29-year-old fitness coach and restaurant manager, was identified as the second victim on Tuesday.
Her mother, Patty Campbell, spoke to reporters briefly Tuesday afternoon. ”She was always smiling, friendly. You couldn’t ask for a better daughter. I can’t believe this has happened. She was such a hard worker in everything she did. This doesn’t make any sense.”
Campbell has watched the Boston Marathon from Copley Square “since she was a little girl,” said her grandmother, Lillian Campbell. “She didn’t miss a marathon, watching it at the finish line.”
Her hometown of Medford has announced a vigil for Campbell and for all the victims Wednesday at 6 p.m.
A third victim has also been identified by Boston University as a Chinese citizen who was a graduate student at the university. The victim’s name and personal information has not been released at the request of her family.
The father of Martin Richard said he was thankful for all the continued thoughts and prayers, and asked for privacy as his wife and daughter continue to recover from serious injuries.
“My dear son Martin has died from injuries sustained in the attack on Boston. My wife and daughter are both recovering from serious injuries,’’ Bill Richard said in a statement released Tuesday. “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.”
The Dorchester Reporter said Martin’s mother and father “are known and respected as civic leaders. . . . The family is deeply involved in all facets of life in Dorchester, from Little League baseball and soccer to their church, St. Ann’s parish in Neponset.”
Bill Richard volunteered extensively in the St. Mark’s Area Main Street group, a community effort to restore the main street businesses of Peabody Square in Dorchester, and Denise Richards is a librarian at Neighborhood House Charter School, where both Martin and his sister, Jane, attended.
The neighborhood of Dorchester stopped the clock at Peabody Square, around the corner from the Richard home, to remember the time when Martin was killed.
“This was a gesture by the people of this neighborhood to say our lives have stopped as of 2:50 yesterday,” said Bill Forry, managing editor of the Dorchester Reporter.
A heart-wrenching photo of the 8-year-old boy holding up a poster that calls for peace has been circulating on the internet. Martin’s poster reads, “No more hurting people. Peace.”
His message was part of a school lesson on the shooting of Trayvon Martin last year, according to a Facebook post by Richard’s former teacher Rachel Moo.
Lucia Brawley, a friend of Moo, posted Martin’s photo on Facebook and it has received nearly 93,000 shares in less than a day. “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,” wrote Brawley.
Neighborhood House Headmaster Kevin Andrews described the boy as a “bright, energetic young boy who had big dreams and high hopes for his future. We are heartbroken by his loss.”
An unidentified woman who knew the family described the boy as a vibrant personality. “He was a great little kid, full of life. Always smiling.”
Neighbors, friends and family built a makeshift memorial in front of the Richard home, leaving flowers, balloons, stuffed animals, and messages written by chalk.
Three people died in the attack and more than 175 remain wounded.