April 16th, 2013
11:16 PM ET

Story behind the man in the cowboy hat in bombing photo

Carlos Arredondo heroically jumped into action after the bombs exploded near the Boston Marathon finish line. Trained by the Red Cross, Arredondo says he tried to stop a severely wounded victim from bleeding. Jeff Bauman survived, but later had both legs amputated.

Arredondo made headlines years ago under very different circumstances. One of his sons, a 20-year-old Marine named Alexander, was killed in Iraq by a sniper in 2004. Arredondo received the devastating news on his birthday. Distraught, the grieving father set a van on fire and suffered serious burns.

He later created a tribute to his son on his car and drove to other military families in mourning to provide comfort. Tragically, his other son took his own life in 2011.

Arredondo was at the marathon, American flag in hand, to cheer for runners competing in memory of fallen soldiers, including his son. In an interview with Anderson Cooper, he describes what he witnessed in the aftermath of the attack and why he didn't hesitate to act.

To help Jeff Bauman, go to http://www.gofundme.com/BucksforBauman

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Filed under: Boston Marathon Attack
soundoff (34 Responses)
  1. betty

    This picture doesn't make sense. The victim already has bruises on his face. I don't think they could have colored that fast. Also the hero has pin badges with the wanted brothers' pictures on him. Hmmmm

    April 26, 2013 at 2:28 pm |
  2. Melanie Beaulieu

    True hero. Bravo!

    April 24, 2013 at 10:23 am |
  3. Emmi

    I am glad this man jumped in to help, and not run away. God bless him.

    April 22, 2013 at 1:36 pm |
  4. Joel

    Why is no one talking more about Jeff Bauman the man who Identified the Bombers on the news!!
    He deserves to be Identified as the real Hero who helped the FBI Identify these suspects.

    April 20, 2013 at 4:01 pm |
    • Joel

      This man REALY NEEDS to be in the public's eye some more! This man has been through a lot My heart goes out to him! losing a son in Iraq and another to suicide.

      April 20, 2013 at 4:23 pm |
  5. Sabdra M. Madrigal

    Like him, I was born in Costa Rica, came to this country thirty seven years ago, I love both countries, I'm very proud of him, after all the tragic past, nothing worse than the lose of a son, he is the kind of human you want next to you, with a big heart and always there for you regardless of how you are, my blessing to him and all the victims in this senseless attach. Que la Virgen de Los Angeles me lo acompane siempre

    April 19, 2013 at 7:09 pm |
  6. Rae B

    Wow. This man has been through tragedy and has done something good with his experience. So sorry for his pain, but so glad that his heart moves him to help others. Our experiences can make us bitter or better. Way to go Sir for letting them make you better. You don't need to be a professional health care provider to use common sense and help your fellow man. Sometimes, a little experience and common sense go a long way. Thank you for not running away. Thank you for doing the right thing. Thank you for being a good example for my children.

    April 19, 2013 at 5:52 pm |
  7. rhiannon

    I am thankful for this man and all of the others who did what they could to help. He is a hero who has himself been through hell and can and did/does help others. What a great story.

    April 19, 2013 at 2:38 pm |
  8. Terri

    How does a guy with that kind of injuries and apparent blood lost still be conscious....(curious)

    April 19, 2013 at 1:10 pm |
    • Matt

      You would be surprised at the resiliency of the human body/mind and the amount of trauma a body can go through and still be able to function. He was more than likely in shock and the amount of adrenaline in his system was keeping him conscience. Sub-consciously your body will do whatever it takes to remain functioning and keep you alive while shutting down "unnecessary" bodily functions. Kidneys, liver etc. I've seen stories of soldier's getting legs blow off in IED attacks and putting on tourniquets and essentially saving their own life.

      April 20, 2013 at 9:41 pm |
    • Marie

      His face looks pale, which means that he was loosing blood. However, it was the rapid response that he was still conscious. God bless you Mr. Carlos!

      April 21, 2013 at 12:06 am |
  9. Otmara

    Everyone needs to understand. He didnt have to help. Because he had a good heart he did. That may have saved some lives. How many people go threw what he did, and give up in life and are troubled. He didnt. He is a true HERO. GOD BLESS HIM ALWAYS.

    April 19, 2013 at 1:08 pm |
  10. sammy zoso

    Great story. Great man. We need more positive reporting like this.

    April 19, 2013 at 10:30 am |
  11. Chris Newton

    Carlos Arredondo is a true hero for selflessly helping all of the victims of this horrible bombing. God Bless Him!

    April 18, 2013 at 10:47 pm |
  12. carlos M Quiroz

    now that is my hero....

    April 18, 2013 at 8:32 pm |
  13. DOTTIE

    Margie i hope you are never in a situation that you need help even if he is not a doctor, a person can save someone if quick action is at hand.
    He is a hero to me and probally to the people he helped. I am sorry for his loss but he probally felt compelled to help since there was no one to help his son in the time of need.

    April 18, 2013 at 8:24 pm |
  14. Heath

    Yes, he is a Hero in the truest sense. To many of us who are not American, Carlos Arredondo is the embodiment of the very best of the American Spirit. As aghast as we may be at the far-too-frequent tragedies like this terrible and cowardly attack, we are equally astonished and awed, and frankly humbled by the way you folks just charge in and help, regardless of personal safety or any other consideration. Politics and Hollywood and reality tv are nice, but truthfully, it's people like Carlos Arredondo who keep the world's love and admiration for America alive.

    April 18, 2013 at 1:51 pm |
  15. Mandy

    Good bless this man. @Margie – people have very hard losses sometimes, you obviously don't understand what it means to be distraught. So to this man's credit, he pulled out of that and now helps others! Note to self: don't become injured or hurt if close to Margie.

    April 18, 2013 at 12:38 pm |
  16. John

    Stories like these make me feel we still have hope for this world yet. Men like this reminds me of my grandfather and an the older generation of bad asses that we could use at this time to get this world back on track.

    April 18, 2013 at 11:42 am |
  17. Yvette

    @Margie – Real nice! Did you even read the article? Not excusing the burning of the van but he had just learned his son was KILLED in Iraq. Not sure how I would react to something so tragic...... and oh BTW,the article states he was trained by the RED CROSS! Read and comprehend much?? Ditto on Malerie's comment!

    April 18, 2013 at 10:21 am |
  18. Roger Penna

    It will be a big irony that IF (just an if, people) the bombing was caused by a rightwing extremist group, one of the biggest heroes, that lost a son in the Iraq war and was on the scene waving an american flag and cheering for runners competing for fallen soldiers and helped save the life of the guy with the most distressing visual injury of the explosion (who saw the photos know it... this guy had all the muscles RIPPED from his bones below the knee... but the bones were still there!), is a latino immigrant with a heavy accent.

    April 18, 2013 at 8:08 am |
  19. Tim

    Absolutely an amazing guy. Someone who has been through so much in his life that it would have been easy to give up. Thank you for showing us all what humanity is all about. You are the definition of a Hero.

    April 17, 2013 at 7:49 pm |
  20. A Dunn

    God bless you, Mr. Arredondo. I am sorry for the losses that you have had in your life. Thank you for helping those injured by the bombings. Such a true heroic act. Not just heroic but you seem to be an amazing person that has turned all of the negatives in your life into positives. That is a very hard thing to do but you have done it. God bless you and thank you again, sir. Sending love and prayers to all of those who were affected by this tragedy.

    April 17, 2013 at 7:20 pm |
  21. Sue Skinner

    Carlos, your courage and compassion is a fine and lasting tribute to your sons. You are an American hero. Thank you! May God bless and comfort your heart.

    April 17, 2013 at 6:22 pm |
  22. Kelly

    Mr. Arredondo is a true here. I wish I could meet him and give him a hug. He has been dealt with so much sadness and loss in his own life. He did not hesitate to act to save others from the same. May God Bless You! Thank you, Your boys are proud!

    April 17, 2013 at 5:55 pm |
  23. margie

    A hero doesn't set a van on fire for any reason! Second, when your NOT medically trained you should NOT be attempting any type of medical procedures! let alone advanced! That's why there are firefighters, emt's, paramedics! Police should've been doing crowd control NOT ems! That guy is NO hero!

    April 17, 2013 at 5:36 pm |
    • amanda

      It clearly says he was trained by the Red Cross

      April 17, 2013 at 10:18 pm |
    • Sara

      Yeah Margie, because standing there letting a man bleed to death is definitely the better option. ANYONE can put pressure on a wound to stop someone from bleeding out. It's not like he was performing surgery on anyone Quit being negative and go away.

      April 18, 2013 at 12:23 am |
    • denise dawson

      Are you serious? shame on you. I would agree with you that unless you are a trained clinician you should not intervene under normal circumstances, however this was far from a normal circumstance. How do you know the EMS person in this picture didn't give Mr. Arredondo instructions on what to do. And unless you have lost a child you have no right to stand in judgement of those that have and how their grieve has affected them. I would hope, Margie, that during these times you try and see the good in others instead of the negative. Carlos Arredondo IS a hero, along with every single person that assisted the wounded on that dreadful day.

      April 18, 2013 at 3:02 pm |
      • Carrie

        Well said Denise. I completely agree.

        April 19, 2013 at 2:39 pm |
    • Jules

      We need more heroic and selfish ppl like Carlos and less negative ppl like Margie.

      April 21, 2013 at 5:54 pm |
  24. Malerie

    Wow! Good in the face of evil. Very moving! <3

    April 17, 2013 at 5:20 pm |
  25. Elkay

    God bless this gentleman! The man has suffered & endured, yet risked his own life to help others.

    April 17, 2013 at 5:05 pm |
  26. Jenn

    God Bless Him!

    April 17, 2013 at 12:55 pm |