Fact Check

Boston Marathon Bombing: Carlos Arredondo

Carlos Arredondo lost a son in Iraq and another to suicide?

Published April 25, 2013


Claim:   Carlos Arredondo lost a son in Iraq and another to suicide.


Example:   [Collected on the Internet, April 2013]

The man in the cowboy hat in this photo's name is Carlos Arredondo. Carlos was at the Boston Marathon with his wife handing out American flags to runners. He lost a son to a sniper bullet in Iraq in 2004 and a second son to suicide a few years later — a depression triggered by the death of his brother. Carlos now spends a significant amount of his time on peace activism and working with vets coming home from war and was at the Marathon to hand out flags and inspire people.

Carlos does not having any medical training but when the blast went off, he ran towards the danger, jumped two fences and found the now-famous man in the wheelchair on the ground, both his legs blown off, and suffering from severe shock and critical wounds. He got him into a wheelchair and pinched the man's artery closed with two of his fingers (you can see him doing so in the photo). Because of Carlos, this man is alive today, having had surgery earlier today to remove both of his legs.

This man is a hero and deserves recognition. This man who lost so much still threw himself into the frenzy of panic and saved another guy's life.


Origins:   According to news accounts, 52-year-old Carlos Arredondo, the "man in the cowboy hat" whose image became familiar to millions when he was photographed assisting Jeff Bauman Jr. after the latter was injured in one of the Boston Marathon bomb blasts, was indeed a peace activist who lost one son to an enemy sniper in Iraq and another to suicide:

Arredondo, a peace activist and sometime cabbie and truck driver who was watching the race from the finish line, rushed into the mass of mangled humanity, where a dramatic Associated Press photo caught him pushing a wheelchair with a victim who lost most of his lower legs in the attack.

Even before Monday, Arredondo, a U.S. citizen who emigrated from Costa Rica, had lived through more than his share of grief and time in the glare of public spotlight during his

52 years.

When, in 2004, several Marines came to his Florida home with news that his older son, Lance Cpl. Alexander Arredondo, had been killed by a sniper in Iraq, the distraught Arredondo smashed the windows of their van, climbed inside and set it on fire. The Marines pulled him out with serious burns, but he later said he set the fire by accident, not to end his own life.

In 2011, his younger son, Brian, long addicted and depressed over his brother's death, committed suicide.

Over the years, Arredondo has become involved in antiwar activism and veterans' groups, making him a figure already recognized by many in the Boston area. Now his face, intent on the rescue, is known around the world.

Last updated:   25 April 2013


    Donn, Jeff.   "Marathon Rescuer Carlos Arredondo Gets Attention from Press and FBI."

    Deseret News.   19 April 2013.

David Mikkelson founded the site now known as snopes.com back in 1994.

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