Tsarnaev Brothers: What to Know About the Boston Marathon Bombing Suspects


The city of Boston is still on lockdown as police hunt for 19-year-old Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, the second suspect in the Boston bombings shown in a white hat in FBI photos. The first suspect, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, 26, was killed in a shootout with police early this morning. 

According to Gawker, the brothers fled Chechnya due to the conflict in the early 90s and lived in Kazakhstan as refugees before immigrating to the United States.

After immigrating, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev seemed to live a normal life as a well-assimilated high school student. He graduated from the Cambridge Ringe & Latin School in 2011 – the same prestigious high school attended by Matt Damon and Ben Affleck. He was one of a few students to receive a $2,500 scholarship from the city of Cambridge, and was a high-school wrestler named “Student Athlete of the Month” in February 2011 by his high school. He is listed as a registered student at UMass-Dartmouth, but it is unclear if he actually attended. The school is closed today due to the association. 

A high school classmate said he was shocked by the events, and described him as a “normal American kid” in an interview with CBS. Classmates interviewed by Buzzfeed expressed similar sentiments:

"I saw the pictures last night and thought it looked kind of like him," said classmate Rebecca Mazur. "But I felt mean even thinking that the person in the photos looked like him."

"It's such a huge shock," Mazur said. "He was such a sweet sort of quiet guy."

Another student described him as "always friendly and welcoming,” and said he “always felt comfortable hanging out with him."

His father, who lives in Russia, spoke to the AP this morning and described his son as a "true angel." The uncle of the suspects, Ruslan Tsarni, said repeatedly in interviews this morning that he does not believe this and that it is "crazy."

His profile on VK, a Russian social media network, indicates that he was living in Boston. He lists his worldview as "Islam" and his priorities as "career and money." The profile appears legitimate but has not been verified. It was created before March of 2012, and indicates that he last logged on last night on a mobile device.

A Twitter account created only two hours ago under his name is widely believed to be fake. The Boston police began relaying messages from this fake Twitter account over the scanner before it became obvious the account was fake, as it responded to a tweet from the Boston PD with a death threat:

The now deceased suspect – called "suspect 1" by police – Tamerlan was arrested in 2009 on domestic abuse charges after allegedly assaulting his girlfriend. A YouTube channel that appears to belong to him lists a deleted category named "terrorists."

He was an amateur boxer, and won Rocky Marciano Trophy for as New England Golden Gloves heavyweight champion in 2010. He described himself as "very religious" in a boxing-related blog titled "Will Box for Passport." 

"…Tamerlan says he could be selected for the US Olympic team and be naturalized American,” the post reads. "Unless his native Chechnya becomes independent, Tamerlan says he would rather compete for the United States than for Russia."