MOLINO, Fla. (WALA) - On Monday, April 15, like thousands of others, local Pastor Rusty Branch was running in one of the most prestigious events in the world.
In the blink of an eye, everything changed.
Now, like the rest of the world, Branch watches on as authorities search for Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, 19, who is the last suspect in detonating two bombs that killed three people and injured hundreds of others.
Branch crossed the marathon's finish line Monday, just minutes before the explosions that sparked a massive manhunt.
"After a couple of days, in the scheme of life, you think about the fact that we were 30 minutes from a place where a bomb went off that could have killed myself and my wife," Branch said.
He and his family managed to board a plane and get out of Boston. He said, however, he has stayed glued to the TV as events have unfolded.
He said he thinks of how different that day could have gone.
"I probably would have been standing at the finish line watching some of the other locals that I know come through; but because we had to catch a plane, we had to rush out. That kind of weighs on you a bit," Branch said.
Three days after getting back from running the 26.2 mile marathon, Branch ran seven more miles with his group from the Running Wild store in Pensacola. One of the miles was in silent reflection for the bombing victims.
"I feel good that they have the suspects ID'd. Now, the folks of Boston will have closure, and the victims and their families won't have a sense of this dragging on for months and have no clue who did it," said Branch.
He said he hopes it can end without anyone else getting hurt.
"Right now, I don't have a feeling of retribution, and I don't think we should want to go get him. I hope that this 19-year-old will turn himself in, and there will be a trial. I want to learn what he was thinking and why he did this," Branch said.
Branch plans to discuss the situation during his Sunday sermon at the Dogwood Baptist Church in Molino, Florida.
The Pensacola store Running Wild plans to hold an event called "Runners for Boston" at 6:30 p. m. on Monday, April 22. There is no fee, but shirts will be available to purchase with the profits going towards relief for the bombing victims.
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