Sunday, April 28, 2013

Heather Abbott - Witness for the Defense

in the case We the people vs. Dzhokhar Tsarnaev

source: Ottawa Citizen

Heather Abbott lost a leg in the Forum explosion. She was waiting outside the restaurant to come in and was blown inside by the blast, through the doorway. It is impossible that the mailbox was the epicenter of this blast.

Here are two of her accounts (there are probably more):

She was injured by the second bomb, which went off in front of the Forum restaurant on Boylston Street. She was waiting in line with friends to get into the bar after taking in a Red Sox game, which is a Patriot's Day tradition for the Newport, R.I., resident. She and friends had come up by train from Providence.

After hearing the first, nearby explosion, Ms. Abbott immediately thought it was a terrorist attack—something she said leaves her leery of returning to the marathon or other crowded venues again. The next bomb went off quickly. Ms. Abbott, last in line among her friends, was on the floor as people scrambled to the back of the bar.

"I felt like my foot was on fire," she said. "I knew I couldn't stand up."

She wondered who could answer her cries for help in the chaos, but she was rescued quickly by several people. One, Matt Chatham, a former linebacker with the New England Patriots, helped carry her outside. They have talked since, and Ms. Abbott plans to meet him in the future.

Abbott was at the back of the long line, waiting as bouncers checked ID's, when the first blast went off. Unlike many, she knew exactly what it was.

"I felt like I was watching the footage on 9/11," said Abbott, who works in human resources for Raytheon Company in Portsmouth, R.I.

Abbott was scrambling to get off the sidewalk when the force of a second blast blew her through the restaurant doorway.

After she'd regained her senses, she tried to stand, but her left foot felt "as if it were on fire." Unable to find her friends in the smoke and confusion, she called out to the panicked crowd.

"Somebody, please help me," Abbott shouted as people scrambled for the rear exits, not knowing whether there were more explosions to come. She'd begun to give up hope when a woman walked up and began dragging her toward the door, quietly reciting a Catholic prayer as she tugged.

"Hail Mary, full of grace...," the woman intoned.

The woman had pulled Abbott a few feet when a burly man stepped in, picked her up and carried her out the back door into an alley. She would later learn it was former Patriots linebacker Matt Chatham.