No locals observing or participating in Boston Marathon injured
Status updates and inquiries on the conditions of spectators and participants in the Boston Marathon continued to pour in through social media, with many people searching for friends and co-workers.
Through interviews and social media posts, the Denton Record-Chronicle has confirmed that Stacey Blaylock, Michael Dooley, Christina Ledesma, Janice Hauge, Sonia Soprenuk, Russ Stukel, Rhonda Foulds, Haley Pollard, Kathy Lambert and Patrick Zimmerer are OK. According to the Boston Athletic Association, each runner completed the race before the bombs were detonated.
According to the race times, Hauge, the last Denton resident to cross the finish line, finished 30 minutes before the first bomb exploded.
Soprenuk landed at D/FW International Airport on Tuesday afternoon and said that she and other runners from North Texas returned home safely without injuries.
This was Soprenuk’s second Boston Marathon, and she said everyone on Monday was excited and happy to be in the race.
“I was very happy during the race,” she said. “It was a great day and I felt awesome. It was all perfect. But it changed, and we were left speechless. It turned into the ugliest day.”
Soprenuk went to her hotel room after completing the race and didn’t know what had occurred until she turned on the TV.
“We couldn’t believe it,” she said. “I can’t even describe what we felt.”
Austin Ledesma was in Boston cheering on his wife, Christina Ledesma. He said he was waiting for his wife to leave the recovery tent when he heard the first loud boom.
“Panic consumed the faces of many as they ran away from the scene, which was only a few hundred meters on the opposite side of the tent,” he said. “As I was talking to Christina on the phone, a second boom went out.”
He said police officers began to barricade the tents and use them as treatment centers for those injured in the blasts. He said he was separated from his wife for 20 minutes until she was released from the tent.
“I simply began to pray as I was forced to wait for Christina,” he said.
Christina Ledesma said she witnessed several people with sever injuries being transported to the tents that were originally set up to help runners recover from the race.
The Ledesmas landed at D/FW early Tuesday afternoon.
Like many people who heard about Monday’s tragedy, Soprenuk struggled to make sense of the event.
“I keep asking myself, ‘Why, why, why?’” she said. “Why would someone do this? What is the motivation? It was mainly the spectators who suffered.”
Soprenuk, who is a member of the North Texas Striders, said this was supposed to be her last marathon, but she decided she will run again to show her support for the event.
“I want to go back because Boston is a great city, and we should do all we can to help the people get back on their feet,” she said.
FBI officials continued interviewing witnesses in Boston on Tuesday, said Cheryl Fiandaca, Boston Police Department bureau chief and public information officer.
The FBI has taken the lead in the investigation of the bombing, which left more than 170 runners and spectators injured and at least three dead, she said.
Two explosions occurred within moments of each other at about 1:50 p.m. Monday, near the Boston Marathon Finish Line, according to Boston police reports.
Fiandaca said that the FBI requests that anyone with a tip regarding the explosions to call 1-800-225-5324, ext. 3.
No piece of information or detail is too small, she said.
Fiandaca said there will be a beefed-up presence in the city for several days. She also said that area where the explosion occurred is blocked off and is being treated as a crime scene.
According to a statement released by the city of Boston, displaced residents are being provided shelter services, and public counseling is also being provided.
JOHN D. HARDEN can be reached at 940-566-6882 and via Twitter at @JDHarden.