BY TOM DALTON
---- — SALEM — The father of the 8-year-old Dorchester boy who was killed in a bomb blast Monday at the Boston Marathon is from Salem.
Bill Richard is a 1988 graduate of Salem High School.
“Everybody is shocked something like this can happen, and to somebody we all remember,” said Salem High Principal Dave Angeramo, who went to high school and played youth sports with Richard.
“I’ve talked to several people who grew up with him, and everybody’s heart just goes out to his family,” said Angeramo, who was flooded with messages yesterday from Salem High graduates.
Martin Richard, a third-grader, was one of three people killed in the explosion, which is being called an act of terrorism, near the finish line in Copley Square.
“My dear son Martin has died from injuries sustained in the attack on Boston,” Bill Richard said in a statement. “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.”
Bill Richard’s wife, Denise, underwent emergency brain surgery Monday, while his 6-year-old daughter, Jane, is recovering from a severe leg injury, according to published reports. Older son Henry was uninjured.
Bill Richard suffered minor injuries.
Salem Mayor Kim Driscoll issued a statement yesterday.
“Like all of us still reeling from the horrific attacks in Boston (on Monday), I was deeply saddened to learn of the personal connection between our city and the family of one of those killed,” she said. “On behalf of the city of Salem, I extend my most deep condolences to Bill Richard ... and to his family on the tragic loss of their son. We all hope that his wife, Denise, and daughter, Jane, recover quickly.”
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 U.S. Rep. Stephen Lynch, a friend of the family for 25 years.
Lynch said the family was attempting to get over the race barriers and into the street when the second blast occurred, killing Martin. Bill Richard and a third child were not seriously injured, but doctors did remove ball bearings from Bill Richard’s leg, Lynch said.
Bill Richard is a leader in a local community group and an avid runner and bicyclist. He didn’t run Monday’s race because he has an injury, according to a friend. Richard wasn’t listed as a runner on the marathon’s website.
Denise Richard, who attended Bridgewater State University with her husband, works as a librarian at Neighborhood House Charter School, where Martin was a third-grader and Jane attends first grade.
The Salem Five, in conjunction with the city, has established a fund for the Richard family. The Salem Five Charitable Foundation made an initial donation of $5,000.
“Bill Richard is a graduate of Salem High School, Class of 1988, and a dear friend of some Salem Five employees,” the bank said in a release.
Donations to the Richard Family Fund can be made at any Salem Five branch or by sending a check or money order to: Salem Five, Attn. Richard Family Fund, 210 Essex St., Salem, MA, 01970.
Yesterday morning, a candle burned on the stoop of the family’s single-family home in Dorchester, and “peace” was written in chalk on the front walkway. A child’s bicycle helmet lay overturned near the front lawn.
Tom Dalton can be reached at email@example.com.
Material from The Associated Press was used in this report.