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Jeff Bauman shares Boston Marathon story, encounter with suspect Tamerlan Tsarnaev

  • Jeff Bauman in his room at Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital in Boston, May 5, 2013. He's attending physical therapy and working towards his prosthesis. <br/><br/>(ANDREA MORALES / Monitor staff)

    Jeff Bauman in his room at Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital in Boston, May 5, 2013. He's attending physical therapy and working towards his prosthesis.

    (ANDREA MORALES / Monitor staff) Purchase photo reprints at PhotoExtra »

  • Among the tokens of well wishes adorning Jeff Bauman's room is a hand drawn card that reads "Bauman Strong" at Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital in Boston, May 5, 2013. <br/><br/>(ANDREA MORALES / Monitor staff)

    Among the tokens of well wishes adorning Jeff Bauman's room is a hand drawn card that reads "Bauman Strong" at Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital in Boston, May 5, 2013.

    (ANDREA MORALES / Monitor staff) Purchase photo reprints at PhotoExtra »

  • Jeff Bauman in his room at Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital in Boston, May 5, 2013. He's attending physical therapy and working towards his prosthesis. <br/><br/>(ANDREA MORALES / Monitor staff)
  • Among the tokens of well wishes adorning Jeff Bauman's room is a hand drawn card that reads "Bauman Strong" at Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital in Boston, May 5, 2013. <br/><br/>(ANDREA MORALES / Monitor staff)

When Jeff Bauman looked Tamerlan Tsarnaev in the face, he knew something wasn’t quite right. Tsarnaev, then an anonymous man in a cap, sunglasses and backpack, seemed out of place. He was alone, and he wasn’t looking down the road to see the Boston Marathon runners pass by like the rest of the crowd.

“I thought (to) myself, ‘This guy’s kind of weird,’ ” Jeff Bauman, 27, said in an interview with the Monitor yesterday from his room at a Boston rehab facility. “He kind of stared at me, and I stared at him, and then I was just like, he sketched me out, I was like, ‘He just doesn’t look like he’s in place.”

When a pop went off minutes later and Bauman was suddenly on the ground, he knew his suspicions were right.

“I had in my head, you know, ‘I’m like 100 percent sure that was the guy,’ ” he said.

Bauman, of Chelmsford, Mass., became a face of the horror that ripped apart the Boston Marathon when he was captured in a photo with his leg in shreds. When news broke days later that he helped the FBI identify the bombing suspect, the spotlight on him grew even larger. Both of his legs were amputated above the knees, and he’s now recovering at Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital in Boston in a room decorated with cards and a white piece of paper with “Bauman Strong” scrawled in marker taped to the window. He’ll be fitted for prosthetic legs in a few weeks.

His girlfriend and family, including his dad and stepmom, Jeff and Csilla Bauman of Concord, provide a revolving bedside support team. He has also met several celebrities, professional athletes and Marines, and he was honored at a ceremony before the Boston Bruins game Saturday night. Three weeks after the bombing, a confident, strong Bauman is looking ahead toward a future on two feet.

But those few minutes that changed his life remain etched in his memory, just as fresh as they were on April 15.

“I remember everything,” he said.

Bauman was at the marathon to watch his girlfriend, along with her two roommates. One of them, Michele Mahoney, was also badly injured and is now recovering in the next room over from Bauman at Spaulding. Just before Bauman saw Tsarnaev, he was looking for Mahoney so they could move farther down, just in case they’d missed his girlfriend crossing the finish line. The weird feeling Tsarnaev gave him made his desire to move more urgent.

As he was looking for Mahoney, he saw a black backpack alone on the ground – the same one he’d seen on the suspicious man.

Then, that pop.

Bauman lay on the ground, first thinking someone had lit a firework in the street. He propped himself up and saw people screaming and running amid rubble. At first, he couldn’t feel the pain. He remembers lying back, trying to move and touch his legs. He yelled out. He looked for Mahoney, who had been taken away. He felt around grasping for his cell phone. He felt like he’d been lying there forever.

“I was just laying there and I was just like, ‘Oh I’m gonna die,’ so I was looking for my cell phone to call people, and I couldn’t find it,” he said.

That’s when Carlos Arredondo, the cowboy-hat hero made famous from the now-iconic photograph of the two men together, came to his side. “He’s gotta go!” Arredondo was yelling, and before Bauman knew it Arredondo hoisted him up by his T-shirt, threw him in a wheelchair and took off – over the finish line, through the medical tent and right into the ambulance.

Once inside, Bauman told the man attending to him that he knew who had set off the bomb. Although he was somewhat delirious and in shock, Bauman remembered what he’d seen. When he was unloaded from the ambulance, he told an officer the same thing. But he was rushed into the emergency room and into surgery so quickly that he didn’t have time to share the details.

When Bauman woke up, FBI agents were outside his door, ready to hear what he had to say. He started talking, and a sketch artist started drawing. He told them every detail, from what the suspicious man was wearing to where he saw the bag.

There was never any doubt in Bauman’s mind that the man he’d stared at was the one responsible for the deadly attacks that killed three and wounded himself and hundreds of others. There was never any doubt that the man he described to the FBI was the one who’d ripped away the innocence of one of the city’s greatest days.

So when he turned on the television a few days later, newscasters confirmed what he already knew.

“His face is on the news.”

Tomorrow: Bauman and his father speak about the road to recovery

(Kathleen Ronayne can be reached at 369-3309 or
kronayne@cmonitor.com or on Twitter @kronayne.)

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Gov. Maggie Hassan visits Jeff Bauman in rehab

Monday, May 6, 2013

Gov. Maggie Hassan had a simple message for Jeff Bauman when she visited him at Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital in Boston yesterday: The Granite State is rooting for him. “Jeff is just a very impressive young man, and I came down just to say hello to him, wish him well and also let him know that the Granite State stands with … 2

With plenty of support and inspiration, Jeff Bauman is on the road to recovery

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

If it were up to Jeff Bauman, he would have spent Sunday night out in Lowell, Mass., at a benefit concert in his honor put on by some friends. “I could easily go to it, but I don’t think my doctors will let me,” he told Gov. Maggie Hassan, who paid him a visit Sunday afternoon at Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital … 1

Joe, with all due respect, this isn't about you.

Thank you Kathleen for your paragraph #6 of: "He has also met (in addition to family members) several celebrities, professional athletes and Marines, " but what about politicians who could have prevented this? Ah, there she is: Maggie Hassan AFTER the fact. . .

What? Are you really saying that the governor of NH could have done anything to prevent that bombing? Really?

To "Field-of Ferns" representing how many ferns? Did you read my other comment and decide to ask the question here? When people see progress toward a "more perfect Union" they feel good that their public servants are worthy. When they of the officials could not care less about the law, some people go "ballistic", of not knowing what it is exactly the electeds were supposed to do, but feeling aggrivated to the point of doing damage to others that be not right. And so if a defect in government be cured it would have sent a positive message that those on the brink of to do some disaster do not do so, as the gov't be not sick, but just some rotten apples to get out of the way lawfully. Go ask some "Risk Management" agent of the State about the insurance policy for the RSA Ch. 93-B "faithful performance" bond of up to $100,000. Maybe Bauman and others can tap into that for to pay some of their medical bills, since the governor did not comply with the law.

seriously, Joe.... aw forget it, not worth the time trying to figure out what the heck you are trying to say, as usual!

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