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Boston Marathon bombings: Torrance businessman critically injured

April 17, 2013|By Samantha Schaefer and Matt Pearce

The headline on this post has been corrected, as noted below.

Friends and family are praying for the recovery of a Torrance man critically injured in the Boston bombings.

John Odom was cheering on his daughter, who was running in the marathon, when the first explosion went off. He was standing just 20 feet from the blast.

Odom suffered major injuries to both of his legs, including a severed artery in one leg.

FULL COVERAGE: Boston Marathon attack

He has been in and out of surgery since Monday's bombings, and his brother-in-law says there is still much to be concerned about.

They're just trying to stabilize him,” Doug Nichol told KTLA-TV. “There’s so much metal in him, I guess, and they’re working with a heat loss in which blood to his heart is giving them problems.”

Nicol said Odom was just weeks away from retiring and was looking forward to spending more time with his grandchildren.

VIDEO: Boston marathon explosion

Nicol texted his sister Monday as soon as he saw news reports about the explosion.

"John's lost a lot of blood, pray for John, he needs it now," she replied.

Odom, in his 60s, is chairman of the board at Murray Co., a mechanical and underground piping contractor in Rancho Dominguez, and was weeks away from retirement, Nicol told the Breeze newspaper.

"John is the nicest guy you'll ever meet. ... He puts everything in front of himself, there isn't anything he wouldn't do for anybody," Nicol said.

UCLA Athletics tweeted a message of support to Odom’s family.

Both Nicole Reis, Odom's daughter, and her husband, Matt Reis, a New England Revolution goalkeeper formerly with the Los Angeles Galaxy, are former UCLA athletes.

The Revolution released a video to express support.

“Matt Reis’ family was affected, and he’s part of our family, so essentially someone in our Revolution family’s been affected. Everyone’s just there for Matt – anything he needs, he knows that we’re there and I hope the whole community can gather around him and other people that have been affected,” A.J. Soares, a defender with the Revolution, said in the video.

At least two other Californians, including a Redondo Beach man and a boy from Martinez, were wounded in the blasts. 

Darrel Folkert, 42, of Redondo Beach, was standing directly in front of the second blast as his wife was in the closing stretch of her seventh Boston Marathon. He is expected to return to Los Angeles on Tuesday night, his wife, Jac Bost, 42, told The Times.

"I was less than a quarter mile away," she said.

Bost had heard a boom, and organizers stopped her before the finish line. When word trickled back that there had been an explosion, the runners immediately tried to call loved ones, but found their phones weren't working.

“We’re super grateful and super blessed and just kind of in shock, really," she said.

Katherine Hern of Martinez in Northern California posted on Facebook on Monday night that her son Aaron was in intensive care with multiple cuts, including a worrisome one on his left thigh that may keep him in the hospital for surgeries over the next seven to 10 days. His father said most of the blast hit him on the left side of his body.

"Thank you all so much for your thoughts and prayers," Katherine Hern wrote. "Aaron is in the ICU but stable."

Family friends told KTVU he was running to meet his mother after she'd finished when he was hit by one of the bombs.

CNN reported Aaron's age as 11; KTVU-TV reported it as 12. KTVU said the boy was at the race with his younger sister and father at the race, who were unhurt.

"They're letting him sleep today," the boy's father, Alan Hern, told CNN on Tuesday. Aaron has been sedated but woke momentarily when hospital staff moved him.

[For the record, 8:45 a.m. April 17: An earlier headline on this post incorrectly stated that a Torrance runner was critically injured. John Odom did not run in the race; he was a bystander watching his daughter.]

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samantha.schaefer@latimes.com

matt.pearce@latimes.com

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