Teen Suspect in Boston Bombings a ‘Regular American Kid’

BY Larisa Epatko  April 19, 2013 at 12:16 PM EST


FBI photo of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, 19.

By many accounts, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, 19, who is wanted in the Boston Marathon bombings, was an athletic student who liked rap music and sports. As police continued to pursue the suspect in Watertown, Mass., Friday morning questions arose about possible motivations for the attacks.

His brother Tamerlan Tsarnaev, 26, died overnight in an encounter with police. According to the Associated Press, Tamerlan Tsarnaev studied accounting as a part-time student at Bunker Hill Community College in Boston.

Their uncle, Ruslan Tsarni of Montgomery Village, Md., said the two men came from a Russian region near the southern predominately Muslim republic of Chechnya and had lived in the United States for about 10 years, reported the Associated Press.

The men’s father, Anzor Tsarnaev, who spoke with the AP by telephone from the southern Russian republic of Dagestan, called Dzhokhar a “true angel” and “intelligent boy” who was studying medicine.

Dzhokhar graduated from the public high school Cambridge Rindge and Latin School, where he was on the wrestling squad, reported the Washington Post.

A friend and former high school classmate, Ty Barros, 21, called Dzhokhar “a normal regular American kid” who liked rap music and sports and hung out with other kids.

Their uncle, Tsarni, spoke to reporters in front of his house saying he had followed the marathon bombings in the news, and “I never would imagine that somehow the children of my brother would be associated with that.”

He said the last time he saw them was in December 2005 and hadn’t been in touch with his brother, but was never aware of any ill will toward the United States. When asked why he didn’t associate with his brother’s family, he said, “I just wanted my family (to) be away from them.”

Tsarni said if he could speak to the hiding Dzhokhar, he would say, “Turn yourself in and ask for forgiveness. … You put shame on the entire Chechen ethnicity.”

You can watch his full statement:

The twin bombings at the finish line of the Boston Marathon killed three people and injured approximately 180.


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