BOSTON — Even as he was being treated for severe injuries suffered in the Boston Marathon bombings, Jeff Bauman Jr. was already providing police with critical details of the suspicious man he saw walking through the crowd in the moments before the blasts.
Bauman, who lost both legs and suffered hearing damage in the April 15 bombings, told WEEI-FM radio Friday that he spotted a man later identified as Tamerlan Tsarnaev while he was waiting for his girlfriend to cross the finish line on April 15. While everyone else was cheering and having a good time, this man wasn’t enjoying himself. He was overdressed for the weather.
“He was just an odd guy, he struck me as odd,” Bauman said. “That’s what I remember of him. Next thing you know I hear fireworks and I’m on the ground. … He was there, and then he was gone, and then boom.”
Bauman, 27, even helped a sketch artist put together a drawing.
“He just didn’t seem right. You know how you size somebody up? I just looked at him. I was like, ‘what’s this guy’s problem?’ “
A battered and bloodied Bauman was captured in a now familiar Associated Press photograph being led away from the blast scene in a wheelchair by a man in a cowboy hat, identified as Carlos Arredondo. Arredondo’s son, who was in the Marines, was killed in Iraq in 2004. The two men have since become friends.
Bauman said his recovery is going well, but “it hurts every day.”
When he learned that Tamerlan Tsarnaev had been killed in a shootout with police last week, Bauman recalled, “What I thought was, he’s dead and I’m still here.”
Bauman’s girlfriend plans on running next year’s marathon, and he plans on watching but probably not near the finish line.
“I had a lot to live for before, and I have a lot to live for now,” he said.