News From Terre Haute, Indiana

April 17, 2013

Valley residents shocked, puzzled by bombings

Howard Greninger
The Tribune-Star

TERRE HAUTE — Michelle Barnett, owner of the Coffee Grounds, summed up the reaction Tuesday from many in Terre Haute to a bombing at the Boston Marathon, which killed three and left more than 130 wounded.

“I thought it was horrible,” Barnett said while she prepared a cup of coffee for a customer at the downtown business.

“Obviously it was done by someone very angry. I hope who did this is found and they figure out why and perhaps they can keep it from happening again,” Barnett said.

Bethany Donat, a senior at Indiana State University in public relations/Spanish, studied on her laptop in the coffee shop. Donat said she learned of the event on Twitter shortly after it happened.

“I was shocked by the number of people effected,” she said. “It is really sad. You don’t know how to take it. It is hard to know how to control something like that.”

On the city’s eastside, Kassandra Schmidt, a sophomore biomedical engineering student at Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology, said she quickly texted friends after learning of the Monday bombing at the Boston Marathon.

“My first response was to text all the people that I know in Boston because I have a bunch of high school friends who go to BC [Boston College] and different schools. I wanted to text them and make sure they were safe. There was a lot of panic going on,” Schmidt said in Moench Hall on RHIT’s campus during a break between classes.

“Even though I could not be there physically for them, it was nice to be there for them through texting,” she said. “It was the same way with [a shooting at] Sandy Hook [Elementary in Newton, Conn.],” said Schmidt, who is from Piscataway, N.J.

“Indiana, for me, coming from the East Coast, is the middle of nowhere, but you don’t think about that kind of stuff happening to you. You like to believe that you can walk around and be safe,” she said.

Benjamin Meadows, a sophomore in civil engineering at Rose-Hulman from Greensburg, said he was “pretty surprised when I first heard about it and honestly just thankful that only [three people] were killed. It is unfortunate that a bunch of people were injured. I was not expecting it in Boston at all,” Meadows said.

“The worse part is there was a lot of worse things happening the same day,” said Jacob Kundert, sophomore in biomedical engineering from Franklin, Tenn. “There was six bombings in Iraq that killed 42 civilians and wounded hundreds. The world is a bad place, it seems like.”

Meadows said Americans must continue their lives as normally. A terrorist’s main goal “is to cause fear in the populace, so really we can’t give them what they want. We need to stand up and stand strong for our beliefs and prevent them from doing things like this again.”

On the city’s southside, Chris Hauser called the bombing “tragic. It made me think of 9/11 and the Oklahoma City bombings,” he said while visiting a service department at Kmart Super Center. “It makes you wonder what is wrong with people. It makes me sick to my stomach.”

As televisions inside Kmart blared updates on the bombing, Cheri Laycock of Prairie Creek and her father, John Ebler of Terre Haute, looked for movie videos. “It was shocking, like oh my gosh, I can’t believe it,” Laycock said of the bombing at the marathon. “It was almost like 9/11, where you just stop whatever you are doing to watch. It is just crazy,” she said.

“The bomb and stuff was put in a trash can. I don’t understand that,” Ebler said. “With all those people, no one saw them put that in there? With all those people, no one noticed anything?” Ebler said.

Laycock said she thinks the bombing was not done from a foreign entity. “I think it was done from someone right here in the United States,” she said. “It was not sophisticated enough to be a foreign terrorist. They want to take out a lot of people.”

At Courtesy Cleaning on South Third Street, Ashley Pruitt listened to television reports of the bombing while waiting for her clothes to dry. “I was just in disbelief it was happening again,” she said. “When is it going to stop?’’

Bobby Jo Cooper, manager at the cleaning business, said she learned of the bombing Tuesday morning. “I thought, ‘Wow, nobody can go anywhere’,” she said. “I could just imagine chaos. You would just want to get out and get out alive, and see as many other people survive as well.”

Cooper first heard of the news on the radio Tuesday morning, but was not sure of the complete event. She then read a newspaper. “Wow, what kind of world do we live in? We can’t send our kids to school and we can’t run down the street. Are we turning into a third-world country? What is going on in the United States?” Cooper said.

Reporter Howard Greninger can be reached at 812-231-4204 or