ABC News’ Rich McHugh and Emily Stanitz report:
One of the Boston marathon bombing victims who lost a leg in the attacks last month says he tries not to acknowledge the perpetrators too much.
But when JP Norden was asked how he felt towards Dzhokhar Tsarnaev and Tamerlan Tsarnaev, the alleged masterminds of the bombings that killed htree people and injured 260 others, Norden replied: “I just think they’re cowards.”
“I mean, I don’t know — I don’t know anyone that would just do that to people, I really don’t,” Norden said, speaking with “Good Morning America” news anchor Josh Elliott. “I know there’s bad people in the world, but I also learned that there’s a lot of good people in the world due to this event. We — a lot of people, good people, helped us and saved us.”
Norden, 33, and his brother, Paul Norden, 31, had gone to the race on April 15 to cheer on a friend who was running. Both men lost their right legs in the blast, and they talked about their experience to Elliott in a Tuesday interview at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, where JP Norden is a patient. The interview aired on “GMA” today.
“Initially I didn’t know what happened,” JP Norden said. “Even though … we didn’t know what went off, but we knew it was something. And then I just remember a lot of pain and looking down … I just kept looking and checking for everything else to see what was there, what wasn’t there. And then my next thing was, I was looking for him.”
Paul Norden, too, wanted to know what happened to his brother. He was also worried about his girlfriend. He couldn’t see either of them in the aftermath of the blast.
“I didn’t know how severe it was. I knew, like, I had a situation” he said, speaking of his injuries. “Like, I — you know, I mean, I knew I lost my leg. But I didn’t know if they were all right or not. So I didn’t really know what to think.”
The brothers were taken to separate Boston hospitals not knowing whether the other had survived, or whether they themselves would make it.
“A guy just kept wiping my face and just telling me that, you know, ‘Everything’s going be okay,’” JP Norden recalled, adding that he didn’t want to close his eyes so he focused on staying awake.
Across town, their mother, Liz Norden, was at home making supper when the phone rang.
“My daughter had called me and told me a bomb had gone off in Boston … And before I could get my phone out, Paul had called my other son. And Jonathan came out and gave me the phone. And I knew, I knew something was wrong when he was giving me the phone,” she said. “I just had a sick feeling. And then he told me he was hurt real bad and he couldn’t find JP or his girlfriend.”
She said it was “horrible” to know that her sons had gone through such trauma.
“I see them, what they’re going through, it’s just heartbreaking,” she said.
JP Norden said he was relieved when he found out his brother had survived.
After weeks of hospital stays and multiple surgeries, the brothers were able to see each other again. The separation had been hard on them both. The brothers are best friends and neighbors who worked next to each other every day as roofers.
JP Norden said he “bawled” when he saw his brother after the bombing.
“He’s my best friend, both my brothers, everybody, you know. But he’s someone that I spend a lot of time with. I’ve never been, you know, besides vacations or something, I’ve never been apart from him,” he said.
Paul Norden was equally excited.
“My heart was just pounding. I just wanted to see him,” Paul Norden said. “And then when I saw him, I just let it all out. It was amazing. I didn’t see him for 14 days. I see him every day of my life, six times a day.”
The brothers are adapting to their new reality.
“I feel lucky to be alive,” Paul Norden said. “I just kind of, keep it moving forward.”
He said doesn’t want to acknowledge the suspected bombers, brothers Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, who is in a prison hospital, and his brother, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, who was killed in a shootout with police three days after the bombing.
Paul Norden said he was impressed by people’s willingness to help in such a dangerous situation.
“I didn’t see anyone run from it. I seen them just run towards us, when this — you know, they didn’t know if a third bomb was going to go off,” he said. “It was just … brought a happy feeling to me. And, it really did, you know? There’s really — people are good.”
The brothers are thankful for the support they both have.
“My girlfriend hasn’t left hospital for more than four hours since this has happened,” JP Norden said. ” You know, maybe she’s run home while I’ve had surgery or something.
“But (she) spent every night here with me. Unbelievable. My mother and my brothers and everybody, my sisters, they’ve been here every day. Plus boatloads of friends. Must drive the nurses crazy,” he said, laughing.
A family friend has set up a benefit fund to help the Norden’s recovery. CLICK HERE for more information.