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Bombing suspects are brothers: Dzhokhar and Tamerlan Tsarnaev

April 19, 2013|By Matt Pearce, Neela Banerjee, Laura J. Nelson, and Richard Serrano

The suspects in the Boston Marathon bombings are brothers, one of whom remained the target of a huge manhunt by police in Boston on Friday.

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, 19, of Cambridge, was still being sought, officials said. He is believed to be the suspect who was identified as wearing a white baseball cap in surveillance video from the area where the bombings took place.

His brother, identified by a law enforcement source as Tamerlan Tsarnaev, died in a shootout with police on early Friday morning. Two federal sources told the Los Angeles Times that the brothers have been in the United States for 10 years. The boys' uncle, Ruslan Tsarni, told WBZ-TV on Friday morning that they were born in Kyrgyzstan.

"It’s crazy, it’s not possible, I can’t believe it," Tsarni said. He said one of his nephews had called him Thursday in an apparent attempt to reconcile after an estrangement with Tsarni that had been going on for a couple of years.

Officials had largely shut down Boston in a massive manhunt for Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, who is thought to have escaped police after gun battles Thursday night and Friday morning that left one police officer dead and one seriously wounded.

"My son is a true angel," the men's father, Anzor Tsarnaev, told the Associated Press by telephone from the Russian city of Makhachkala on Friday. "Dzhokhar is a second-year medical student in the U.S. He is such an intelligent boy. We expected him to come on holidays here."

An FBI official told the Los Angeles Times that the two suspects were brothers. Tamerlan Tsarnaev, 26, known as Suspect 1 wearing a black hat at the marathon, was reported dead early Friday morning with gunshot and blast wounds from the gun battle.

The source also said Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was apparently wounded in the firefight, as they've found blood spots in the manhunt. Officials worry he may have broken into a residence and taken captives. "I wouldn't think someone like this would kill himself," the official said.

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev graduated from Cambridge Rindge & Latin School in 2011. He received a $2,500 scholarship from the city of Cambridge, to be used toward higher education, according to local news reports. He was a wrestler at Cambridge Rindge & Latin, and was honored as the student athlete of the month during his senior year.

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev enrolled at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst, high school friend Eric Machado told CNN. He worked as a lifeguard at Harvard, Machado said.

In a profile posted on a social media page under a variation of his name, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev says he was born on July 22 and went to elementary school in Makhachkala, the capital of Dagestan, a small Muslim Caucasus republic near Chechnya before coming to the U.S. and graduating from Rindge & Latin in 2011. He wrote that he speaks English, Russian, and “Nokhchiin Mott,” the Chechen language.

His describes his world view as “Islam” but his priorities as “Career and money.” He belongs to religious and secular social media groups linked to Chechnya, almost all in Russian. Those groups in turn have begun to post stories that one of their members might have been involved in the “terrorist acts” in Boston, as one site called it.

Dzhokhar’s most recent post on his social media site was from March 2012, a humorous YouTube video of his brother sitting in the passenger seat of a car in what looks like a parking garage doing imitations of various accents of people in the Caucasus -- the way an American might mimic regional accents in this country. His brother wears a dark baseball cap reminiscent of the one in the more recent, more chilling videos that have been circulated since the bombing.

Vitriolic comments have begun trickling in from visitors to his page, most with Russian names, one writing after the silly video on the accents, “Can it be that this [jerk] actually committed a terrorist act?”

ALSO:

MIT officer dies after campus shooting

MIT police officer reported shot near campus

Boston Marathon bombings: Investigators cite suspects' movements

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