LOMITA (CBSLA.com) — A Torrance businessman was one of 17 people critically injured Monday when two bombs detonated at the Boston Marathon.

John Odom’s family said he was watching his daughter, Nicole, finish the race when the first device exploded just 20 feet away from him around 2:50 p.m. EST.

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Doug Nicol, the victim’s brother-in-law, said shrapnel tore through Odom’s left leg.

“He lost a lot of blood, and he severed an artery in his leg,” said Doug. “I just hope he makes it.”

Doug said Odom’s sons left their father’s side minutes before the blast.

“Walked away from him to take a picture of Nicole when she came across the finish line, and that’s when it blew up,” he said.

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The victim’s niece, Hannah Nicol, said despite the pandemonium, her cousins found her uncle unconscious.

“(My cousin) went and took off his belt and wrapped it around my uncle’s leg to try to stop the bleeding, and I guess it really worked, and it saved his life at the time,” she said.

Odom, who was just weeks away from retirement, underwent three surgeries to save both of his legs. His heart stopped twice on the operating table.

The victim is also suffering from a massive infection in his stomach from the metal shrapnel.

His family is now praying he survives.

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“He’s supposed to travel and enjoy it and everything else and someone goes and pulls the rug from under you…and changes the whole thing…out of being a coward,” said Doug.