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Sunday, April 21, 2013

Nashua worker Jeff Bauman helped identify Boston Marathon bombers from his hospital bed

NASHUA – One minute, Jeff Bauman was standing in a small crowd of people cheering near the finish line of the Boston Marathon. In an instant, he was blown to the ground by a powerful blast.

Before the bomb went off that took both of Bauman’s legs, he got a look at a man wearing a baseball hat and sweatshirt who left a backpack on the sidewalk. That man was either Suspect No. 1, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, 26, who was killed Friday after a shootout with police, or Suspect No. 2, his 19-year-old brother Dzhokar Tsarnaev, 19. ...

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NASHUA – One minute, Jeff Bauman was standing in a small crowd of people cheering near the finish line of the Boston Marathon. In an instant, he was blown to the ground by a powerful blast.

Before the bomb went off that took both of Bauman’s legs, he got a look at a man wearing a baseball hat and sweatshirt who left a backpack on the sidewalk. That man was either Suspect No. 1, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, 26, who was killed Friday after a shootout with police, or Suspect No. 2, his 19-year-old brother Dzhokar Tsarnaev, 19.

When Bauman came out of surgery after both of his legs were amputated, he awoke from sedation and requested a pen and paper, his brother Chris Bauman told Bloomberg News.

“He woke up … (and) wrote, ‘bag, saw the guy, looked right at me,’ ” Chris Bauman said in an interview.

The man whose picture became iconic as one of the victims of the Boston Marathon bombing offered one of the turning points in the investigation.

While still in intensive care, Jeff Bauman gave the FBI a description of the man he saw and the information helped investigators narrow down the suspects to look for amid the hours of video supplied to them after the attack, Bloomberg reported.

Bauman, 27, works in Nashua and grew up in Concord.

He was attending the marathon that day to cheer on his girlfriend, Erin Hurley. Hurley posted to her Facebook page Friday that Bauman was in stable condition and she asked people to donate to numerous online campaigns set up for him, including “Bucks for Bauman” which has raised more than $180,000 through the website GoFundMe.com as of Friday afternoon.

“We appreciate all of your support in the form of well wishes and prayers,” Hurley wrote. “Jeff is doing well, but the most important thing we can all do to facilitate his healthy recovery is to give Jeff and our family the time, space and respect to heal.”

The Bedford Village Inn in New Hampshire is running a special fundraiser through Sunday where they are selling a specialty pastry with 100 percent of the proceeds going to the Bauman family. Bauman’s stepmother, Csilla Bauman, of Concord, worked at the restaurant for about 15 years, manager Jon Carnevale told The Telegraph. Jeff Bauman is a part-time worker at the deli counter at the Nashua Costco.

The inn’s staff has been posting to their Facebook page, thanking the people who have donated money directly to Bauman, including William Godfrey, of Milford, a disabled war veteran who wrote a $1,000 check to the young man.

Costco General Manager Kevin Horst spoke to The Telegraph while experiencing a lockdown in Boston as authorities prepared to conduct a controlled explosion at the suspects’ apartment in Cambridge. From his Boston apartment, Horst said he has visited Bauman several times this week at Boston Medical Center and he is not surprised he contributed to the efforts of law enforcement officials in this case.

“I will tell you that Jeffrey is respectful. He is a hard worker, and he is a wholly trustworthy and upstanding person,” Horst said. “I know that he would do his utmost to help in this horrible time, even though he’s hurt. ... Long term, there will be lots of support. We want to be here for (the family). Costco is a proud family, and we truly feel that way.”

Dave Turner, a co-worker of Bauman’s at Costco, agreed.

“He’s a smart guy and pretty observant, so I’m not surprised that he was able to recall it.”

Samantha Allen can be reached
at 594-6426 or sallen@nashua
telegraph.com. Also, follow Allen
on Twitter (@Telegraph_SamA).