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Durant runner witnesses Boston Marathon blast

By: Victoria Maranan Email
By: Victoria Maranan Email

DURANT, OK and SHERMAN, TX-Boston police report that three people are dead and more than 130 injured after two explosions at the finish line of the Boston Marathon.

The explosions happened about 15 seconds apart. Officers in camouflage uniforms lifted a fence so emergency crews could get to several people who were injured. Marathon workers used wheelchairs to take bloodied victims to tents that had been set up for runners.

President Obama is directing all appropriate federal agencies to help with the investigation.

"Make no mistake, we will get to the bottom this. We will find out who did this and why they did this any individual or any group who is responsible will feel the full weight of justice," he said.

Several Texomans were there when the devices blew up. Friends and family right here in Texoma waited anxiously to hear from loved ones after they heard about the deadly blasts at the 117th Boston Marathon. Monday, a runner from Durant describes the horror he saw and felt.

Durant runner, Larry Qualls saw the explosion firsthand.

"Just scared, I heard some bombs going off then I talked to people that was there on that street and they said they thought it was fireworks at first. But then she said she felt the ground shake," he said. "Immediately, the track just filled with people. There were people going every direction and police cars and ambulances. It was really chaotic."

Qualls said he was less than half a mile from the finish and said if it wasn't for a calf injury, he could have been at the site of the blast maybe even killed.

"I have an injury that had been bothering me and so I would've been right there at the finish line at that time," he said.

He and dozens of other runners were diverted away from the area as emergency crews worked to help the hundreds of injured. It was hours before Qualls could get in touch with his family.

"I'm just fine, everything, I'm okay. We all got back from the race now and back into the hotel. We had a little trouble going back, the subways were shut down," he said.

"Nervous, scared, upset, wondering if he's right in the middle of it. Worried about him and his family."

Leon Taylor works for Qualls at Central Electric in Durant. He said he was worried for his friend and so was everyone else.

"People started calling us, we didn't know anything about it. People had started calling us and we'd been on the phone ever since," he said.

Another Texoman, Dianna Sulser of Denison, was also running the marathon.

"I was worried about my friend because I know she was out there running."

Howie Trinh said she waited anxiously to hear from her friend.

"I was checking, calling her and texting her but there's no response so I was scared," she said.

Sulser later posted on Facebook that she's okay and uninjured, still in Boston, that she was half a mile away from the finish line at the time of the blast.

"She's okay but she's also scared. I don't blame her. Everybody does," said Trinh.

Qualls said despite the incident, it won't keep him from doing what he loves.

"Life doesn't stop because of this, you know? You just keep on going on," he said.

Sherman's Dr. Gary Marlow also ran the race and was able to cross the finish line uninjured. Tim Vandagriff and Stephen Smalley, both of Ardmore, are also okay.

Sulser will be flying back to Denison Tuesday and Qualls will be back in town Wednesday.


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