The father of Martin William Richard today said he is trying to both grieve the death of his 8-year-old son, who was killed at the Boston Marathon bombings, and help his wife and daughter recover from injuries they suffered during the terrorist attack on Monday.
“My dear son Martin has died from injuries sustained in the attack on Boston. My wife and daughter are both recovering from serious injuries,’’ Bill Richard said in a statement released this afternoon. “We thank our family and friends, those we know and those we have never met, for their thoughts and prayers. I ask that you continue to pray for my family as we remember Martin.’’
He added, “we also ask for your patience and for privacy as we work to simultaneously grieve and recover. Thank you.”
At Hemenway Park, where the third-grader at the nearby Neighborhood House Charter School played during gym class, friends and classmates created a makeshift chalk memorial for Martin. In chalk, they wrote messages of love and prayer, telling the young boy that they loved him and would never forget him.
In the playground below the memorial, the children played while their parents whispered. Introducing the tragedy was happening slowly, they said, but the children were communicating with each other, trying to explain something unexplainable.
The Richard family has strong ties to the school. Richard and his sister, Jane, attended while their mother, Denise, is the school’s librarian, the school said in a statement. Bill Richard and surviving son, Henry, were also known to the school’s staff and students.
“We are a small school and everyone knows and loves each other,’’ Headmaster Kevin Andrews said in a statement. “They are a wonderful family and represent the very best this city has to offer.’’
Andrews, who said counselors are being brought in for students and their families, described Martin Richard as a “bright, energetic young boy who had big dreams and high hopes for his future. We are heartbroken by this loss.’’
According to Boston City Councilor Frank Baker’s office, the Meetinghouse Bank has set up an account to accept donations for the Richard family.
Grief-stricken neighbors today described the 8-year-old Dorchester boy as a child full of life who was part of a very close-knit family.
“They were always together,’’ neighbor Jane Sherman said of the Richard family, who live next door to her on Carruth Street in Dorchester. “This is the worst tragedy I have ever been through in my life. It’s a horrific situation.’’
Martin Richard is one of three people to die in the blast that also wounded 176 others, 17 of them critically, according to family and officials.
At the Adams Corner General Store, Dotty Willett, a cousin of the boy’s mother, said that when she first heard the news that a child had died in the explosions, she said her heart broke to think of the poor family.
“Then I found out we were the family,” she said, her voice checked with emotion.
According to a Richard family spokesman, Bill Richard did not run the Marathon on Monday. His wife and all three of the couple’s children were at the finish line at the time of the explosions. The second son was unharmed.
Today, a woman stood on her Carruth Street lawn looking toward the Richard home, her arms crossed across her chest and tears in her eyes. In a brief conversation, she said she knew the family because they all shared a love for running.
“He was a great little kid, full of life,’’ said the woman, who declined to identify herself. “Always smiling.’’
Among them was a regular playmate of Martin, Kaytlyn Lynch, who is in the third grade at the Neighborhood House Charter School with Martin. Kaytlyn Lynch, who was interviewed by the Globe with her mother’s permission, said she played with Martin almost every Friday.
“We always played on Fridays,’’ the 8-year-old said. “We draw together. We draw sports pictures.”
Kaytlyn Lynch also said knows Martin’s younger sister who always tried to everything her big brother did. “She likes playing like Martin,’’ Kaytlyn Lynch said. “She’s just like Martin.’’
According to Kaitlyn’s mother, Tammy, and others, Martin’s mother, Denise, is a librarian at the Queen Street charter school.
“I hope they really get better,’’ said Kaytlyn Lynch of mother and daughter.
Emira Myers came with her mother, Jacqueline, to the family’s home and left a small stuffed animal on the family’s porch.
Emira, who is 10 years old, said she attends the same charter school as Richard, but was not in the same class as him. Holding close to her mother, she described him as happy little boy.
Asked by reporters how she was feeling, the 10-year-old responded: “Scared.’’ She added, “I never know where they are.’’
Her mother said Emira was referring to the people who attacked the Marathon.
Neighbor Dan Aguilar said the Richard family was close, and that on most days — regardless of the weather — Martin Richard and his brother were in the family’s backyard, playing soccer, hockey, or baseball.
“They are just your average little boys,’’ Aguilar told reporters gathered near the family’s home on Carruth Street. “They are a good family. They are always together.’’
Aguilar said he last spoke with the family on Easter Sunday when they were gathered outside, enjoying the day. Today he noticed that the children had drawn butterflies and flowers with chalk on their driveway. Today, the chalk remained where the children had left it.
“I guess they planned on doing more,’’ he said. “That’s how I will remember them.’’
He added, “That little boy will never come home again. It’s still unreal. I have no words. I have no words.’’