Boston Bombing Suspects Are Brothers Living In U.S. For Years

The suspects in Monday’s deadly Boston Marathon explosions and the Thursday night murder of a police officer at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology are two brothers from a former Soviet republic who were in the United States legally for years, and lived together in a Watertown, Mass., apartment.

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, 19, on Friday afternoon was still being sought by police. Tamerlan Tsarnaev, 26, was killed Friday morning in a shootout with police in Watertown.

NPR’s Joe Shapiro interviewed a woman in Toronto who said she’s the aunt of the two suspects. She said the boys grew up in Kyrgyzstan and spent a year in Chechnya, 1994.

The Wall Street Journal reports that the family includes two sisters. It says one brother arrived in the U.S. in 2002, and the second in 2004. It says the boy’s father is an auto mechanic who has received treatment in Germany for brain cancer. The Associated Press says the father is now in the southern Russian republic of Dagestan.


Dzhokhar Tsarnaev
Age 19: Born July 22, 1993

Has been in the United States since he was 12.

Attended and graduated from Cambridge Rindge and Latin School, where in 2011 his wrestling prowess — he captained the school team for two years — earned him a citation as one of the “Greater Boston League Winter All Stars.”

Assistant high school wrestling coach Peter Payack told The Boston Globe he was dedicated and a leader, was loved and respected by his fellow wrestlers, and was the “opposite of a loner.”

He was among students who received a $2,500 college scholarship through the city of Cambridge, Mass., in 2011. He was a student at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, which on Friday posted this message: “UMass Dartmouth has learned that a person being sought in connection with the Boston Marathon bombing has been identified as a student registered at UMass Dartmouth. The campus is closed. Individuals on campus should shelter in place unless instructed otherwise.”

On Vkontakte — described as the Russian equivalent of Facebook — he lists his personal priority as “Career and money,” and his world view as “Islam.”

A longtime classmate in an interview with ABC News described him as “just a great kid. He was fun to be around. He always had a positive attitude.” CNN interviewed a classmate who called him a good wrestler and “a normal kid. He parties, sometimes he smokes. He was raised here. He was just as American as I am.”


Tamerlan Tsarnaev (killed in shootout with police)
Age 26

A boxer who participated in a 2009 New England Golden Gloves tournament, where he was described as being from Lowell, Mass.

The Lowell Sun newspaper reported that he won his first fight in 2004, and was quoted as saying: “I like the USA. America has a lot of jobs. That’s something Russia doesn’t have.” The paper also reported that he said he loved music, studied piano and violin when he was younger, and in 2009 and 2010 participated as part of Team New England in the National Golden Gloves Tournament of Champions.

A photographer’s online gallery includes a section on Tamerlan Tsarnaev, called “Will Box for Passport,” which appears to show him sparring and practicing at the Wai Kru Mixed Martial Arts Center. On the website, he’s described as a Muslim who abstains from abstaining from drinking and smoking, and is quoted as saying, “I don’t have a single American friend,” and that “there are no values anymore.”

He was a part-time student at Bunker Hill Community College from 2006 to 2008, aiming toward becoming an engineer.

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