Marina resident David Ham, 45, who left Patterson in 2007 after living here for nearly 15 years, was three miles from finishing his first Boston Marathon when the bombs went off at 2:50 p.m. ET.
“I was running with another guy who was a retired police officer when we saw 25 to 30 officers take off (with lights and sirens) toward the finish line,” he said by phone Monday. “A few minutes later I got a text from my brother, who works for NBC News about what happened.”
Runners were stopped a mile short of the finish line on the course and taken by bus to Boston Common, in the western part of downtown, Ham said.
“It’s terrible, and I’m lucky I wasn’t near the finish line,” said Ham, whose son Joshua, a 2008 Patterson High School gradate, was with him in Boston. “It’s a miracle that it wasn’t worse. There were a lot of people down there.”
An initial release from the Boston Police Department indicated at least two people died and more than 20 others were injured, but Police Commissioner Ed Davis said at a press conference later in the day there were multiple casualties without going into more detail.
In addition to the two explosions on the 600 block of Boylston Street, Boston police responded to a fire at 4:12 p.m. ET inside the JFK Library about four miles away. There were no injuries in that incident, according to a release from the Boston Police Department. As of late Monday afternoon, investigators were not sure whether the fire and the explosions were connected.
A multi-agency response team including state and federal law enforcement agencies is investigating the cause of the explosions.
While no current West Side residents ran in the marathon, a list of entrants indicated other Stanislaus County participants came from Turlock, Modesto, Riverbank, Oakdale and Salida as well as the nearby communities of Ripon and Tracy. Not all of their conditions were known as of 5:30 p.m. PST.
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