BOSTON (AP) — Neighbors and friends remembered 8-year-old Boston Marathon bombing victim Martin Richard as a vivacious boy who loved to run, climb and play sports like soccer, basketball and baseball.
Family friend Jack Cunningham spoke Tuesday of how, as a pint-sized preschooler, Martin had insisted on getting out of a stroller his mom was pushing during a 5K race in South Boston.
Once she let him out to run with the rest of the family, Martin had other plans for the rainy race course.
"He was just having a ball, splashing in every puddle," Cunningham said.
The boy's father, Bill Richard, released a statement thanking family, friends and strangers for their support following his son's death Monday. Richard's wife, Denise, and the couple's 6-year-old daughter, Jane, also suffered significant injuries in the blasts.
"My dear son Martin has died from injuries sustained in the attack on Boston," Richard said. "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."
Other friends remembered Martin as a happy boy who was often outside playing with his sister, older brother Henry and other neighborhood kids.
The Richard family was watching Monday's race, and had gone to get ice cream before returning to the area near the finish line before the blasts.
"They were looking in the crowd as the runners were coming to see if they could identify some of their friends when the bomb hit," said Congressman Stephen Lynch, a friend of the family for 25 years.
He said they are a strong family and are doing better than expected, while rallying around the 6-year-old girl.