Jeff Bauman said he looked into the eyes of the Boston bombing suspect shortly before the blast that tore both of his legs off below the knee.
Now the man from one of the most iconic photos from Monday’s bombing has helped investigators determine the identity of the two suspects, though they still have only pictures and video of them.
Bauman became known to many people watching coverage for footage showing him being whisked away in a wheelchair. Looking shocked and ashen, Bauman’s legs were torn off below the knee and his bones protruding. He was being pushed by Carlos Arredondo, the cowboy-hat wearing many who also would become famous from the footage.
Jeff Bauman was waiting near the finish line just before 3 pm on Monday, watching for his girlfriend to complete the Boston Marathon. A man wearing a baseball hat and sunglasses looked directly at Jeff before dropping a bag at his feet, said Jeff’s brother, Chris Bauman.
The bag contained the bomb, which exploded two minutes later, sending shrapnel throughout the crowd of spectators. The blast left three people dead and more than 170 injured.
As soon as Jeff Bauman regained consciousness from having the rest of his legs amputated below the knee, he had justice on his mind.
“He woke up under so much drugs, asked for a paper and pen and wrote, ‘bag, saw the guy, looked right at me,’ ” Chris Bauman said yesterday in an interview.
The FBI released information on the Boston bombing suspects on Thursday, showing two young men wearing baseball caps and carrying large backpacks. Jeff Bauman remembers everything, his brother said.
“I’ve had many times alone with him, and yes, he told me every single detail,” Chris Bauman said.
While Jeff Bauman was helping the FBI identify the Boston bombing suspects, his own family had to learn about his injuries from news footage of the event. His father said they received a frantic call from his stepdaughter asking if he had seen “the photo.” Jeff’s father went on Facebook and found the image of his son being wheeled away.