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Boston bombings aftermath: A funeral amid signs of recovery

April 23, 2013|By Seema Mehta and Maria L. LaGanga
  • A private funeral was held for Martin Richard, 8, the youngest of three people killed in the explosions at the finish line of the Boston Marathon.
A private funeral was held for Martin Richard, 8, the youngest of three people… (Associated Press )

BOSTON -- As people were allowed to return for the first time to homes and offices near the site of the Boston Marathon bombings, the youngest victim was laid to rest Tuesday.

A private funeral Mass was held for 8-year-old Martin Richard, according to his parents.

“We laid our son Martin to rest, and he is now at peace,” Denise and Bill Richard said in a statement. “We plan to have a public memorial service in the coming weeks to allow friends and loved ones from our community to join us for a celebration of Martin’s life.”

The couple thanked the community for support during “the most difficult week of our lives.”

The boy was one of three people killed and more than 260 wounded when two bombs exploded near the marathon’s finish line April 15. Health officials said 51 people remained hospitalized eight days later. Three days after the marathon bombings, MIT police officer Sean Collier was killed, allegedly at the hands of the two brothers suspected in the blasts.

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Mayor Thomas Menino announced Tuesday that $20 million has been raised to help the wounded and the families of the dead, with donations ranging from a $1-million check from one contributor, to “young people doing lemonade stands, $5, $10, it runs the gamut.”

In all, One Fund Boston has received 50,000 donations from around the world.

“I never imagined after this tragedy last Monday the generosity of the folks,” said an emotional Menino. “The business community of Boston especially, but around the world.… Five million dollars was generated by simple clicks of your computer.”

Kenneth Feinberg, who administered victims' funds after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks and other disasters, will oversee the disbursement of the money. On Tuesday, he said that the deadline for applications is June 15, and checks will be cut to the victims and their families by June 30.

“I am amazed, in my experience, to see this type of outpouring so quickly in such large amounts after this horrific tragedy,” Feinberg said. “One thing I’ve learned is … never underestimate the charitable impulse of the American people.”

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At the same time, others in the community were struggling Tuesday to cope with their ties to the suspected bombers, Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev.

Attorneys representing Katherine Russell, who married Tamerlan Tsarnaev in June 2010, put out a statement on her behalf expressing her sorrow over the dead and the injured, and her shock at her husband’s and brother-in-law’s alleged involvement.

“As a mother, a sister, a daughter, a wife, Katie deeply mourns the pain and loss to innocent victims --  students, law enforcement, families and our community. In the aftermath of this tragedy, she, her daughter and her family are trying to come to terms with these events,” the statement said, adding that Russell is helping authorities.

Representatives of the Cambridge mosque where Tamerlan Tsarnaev prayed stressed their cooperation with law enforcement and noted that they had urged members of their religious community to contact authorities immediately after the bombings in case they knew anyone who might be involved.

They also offered to send a mediator from one of the area mosques to aid authorities during the Friday night standoff involving Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, according to Yusufi Vali, executive director of the Islamic Society of Boston Cultural Center, and Nichole Mossalam, executive director of the Islamic Society of Boston Cambridge Mosque.

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“What these suspects allegedly did is absolutely disgraceful and reprehensible. And we as Bostonians want to see them brought to justice and want to help our law enforcement find the answers, to help them in their investigation," Vali told reporters in a news conference at the mosque.

On Boylston Street, where the bombings took place, there were signs of recovery, as residents and workers were allowed access to their buildings for the first time since last week’s explosions. The street remains closed to traffic and pedestrians, but people who live and work in the affected blocks were escorted to their buildings and told they would be able to stay until 7 p.m.

Tim Donohue, a vice president of IHRDC, a company that provides training for the oil and gas industry, said being back on Boylston is “very eerie,” particularly walking past the two bombing sites.

He said he and his colleagues have kept working, either through remote access or meetings at nearby hotels. Employees who did not work remotely were still being paid for the last week.

For Enrique Rivera, a cook at Lolita Cocina & Tequila Bar, the lost week of work could mean a dent in his income.

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“The majority of us in this are paid by the hour, so if we don't work, we don't earn,” said Rivera, who is from Mexico.

Rivera spent a few hours Tuesday cleaning the restaurant, which is on Dartmouth Street at Boylston, but said he did not know when it could open for business again.

“They won't allow in everything we need to run the restaurant,” Rivera said. “For example, the trucks that bring in meat, vegetables -- we don't have those.”

seema.mehta@latimes.com

maria.laganga@latimes.com

Also contributing from Boston were Melanie Mason and Michael A. Memoli.

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