BY ADEYEMI OSHUNRINADE
April 19, 2013
They are the faces of terror that unleashed havoc at the Boston Marathon. Tamerlan Tsarnaev, 26 and his younger brother Dzhokhar Tsanaev, 19 were the terrorists responsible for this week’s bombing, that led to three deaths and more than 170 people badly wounded. Less than two days after the attacks, authorities put pieces of information together that led to how the brothers got identified.
Last night, the FBI released a video showing both brothers carrying backpacks, as people lined the streets to watch the Marathon. Minutes after their release, tips poured in from all over the country and hours later, the FBI was able to attach names to the suspects who according to news reports, came to the United States more than ten years ago from the Eastern Caucasus.
Tamerlan the older brother, studied engineering at Bunker Hill Community College but took off to train as a boxer, while his younger brother Dzhokhar finished High School over a year ago and on September 11 2012, became a U.S. citizen, in contradiction to first report that both brothers were Green-Card holders at the time of bombing.
The Tsarnaev family moved to the United States about 2002 from Chechnya a Russian region that has witnessed years of conflicts with Russia over its independence. The fact the region is known for instability over its struggle for autonomy, may have helped the Tsarnaev family to receive asylum on arrival to the United States.
Tamerlan engaged in a shootout with the police and threw grenades at officers last night, before he got killed after being shot multiple times. Both participated in the robbery of a 9-Eleven store and later shot dead MIT police officer, Sean Collier 26. Dzhokhar managed to escape from the scene in a getaway vehicle, but not before running over his brother as he lay dying and incapacitated by gunshot wounds suffered from his firefight with the police.
Before choosing the path of terror, Dzhokhar worked as a lifeguard at a pool at Harvard University, according to George McMaster, who hired him for the post about two and half years ago. “He showed up on time, he watched the water, he rotated from position to position fine, got along well with others,” George said in an interview with CNN. When asked to comment about Dzhokhar, a High School classmate, indicated that he seemed like a normal American kid and showed no side of terror or resolve to harm America.
When asked by CNN, Eric Mercado another schoolmate who attended Cambridge Ridge & Latin, High School with Dzhokhar, could not contain the surprise over what transpired: “We hung out, we partied, we were good high school friends,” he said. “We are all like in shock. We don’t really understand. There were no telltale signs of any kind of malicious behavior from Dzhokhar. It’s all coming as a shock, really.”
What drove the brothers to carry out a terrorist act on American soil remains unclear. It is still not known whether both received trainings abroad, since they seem to have no link to a known terror group and so far, none has claimed affiliation to the brothers. However, authorities are not ruling out a possibility as they gather new evidence and seek information on whether there are collaborators.
Ruslan Tsarni, a man who claimed he is the Uncle of Dzhokhar and Tamerlan, expressed his sorrow and anger over deaths of the bombing victims and called on his nephew Dzhokhar, who is on the run to turn himself in. He had neither sympathy nor regret that the police killed his elder nephew and when prompted by CNN affiliate WBZ about his feelings over Tamerlan’s death, he was quick to respond. “Good, he got what he deserved,” he said.
Tsarni said he has not seen his nephews since 2006 after their arrival to the U.S. and at a point, he got furious calling his nephews losers who vexed their anger on the innocent after failing to meet their goals in America. He did not hesitate to say his family had nothing to do with the attacks but condemned the brothers for bringing shame upon the Chechen community and the entire ethnic group in the United States. “If you’re alive, turn yourself in and ask for forgiveness,” Tsarni urged his nephew.
A recent CBS report indicated the boys’ father got a phone call about the attacks in Russia, where he now lives while receiving medical treatment. Their, mother is also said to live at a different place in Russia but could not be reached as the news unfolds. When asked how he feels about his sons’ terror acts, he expressed concern over the innocent victims but mad at the authority for killing his son.
A manhunt underway to find Dzhokhar who remained at large until 9:00 P.M. Eastern Time, ended when he was finally captured by the swat team. He will now face the justice system to answer for his despicable act of terror. Office of Chechnya’s President has tried to dissociate its government from the Tsarnaev family. In response to questions, an official said: “According to preliminary information, coming from the relevant agencies, the Tsarnaev family moved many years ago out of Chechnya to another Russian region. After that, they lived for some time in Kazakhstan and from there, went to the U.S. where the family members received a residence permit. Therefore, the individuals concerned did not live as adults in Chechnya.”
With that it remains vague whether Chechen authority want to blame the brothers’ radicalization on American upbringing and education they received.
- Everything we know about the Boston bombing suspects: Dzhokhar Tsarnaev (on the loose) and Tamerlan Tsarnaev (dead) (qz.com)
- Relatives were worried about older brother’s influence… (boston.com)
- Who is Tamerlan Tsarnaev? (foreignpolicy.com)
- Muslim Brothers Tamerlan and Dzhokhar A. Tsarnaev Are the Boston Marathon Bombers. (pibillwarner.wordpress.com)
- Rusli Tsarni Tells Nephew Dzhokhar Tsarnaev “Turn Yourself In” (lezgetreal.com)
- Who Is Dzhokhar Tsarnaev? (theatlanticwire.com)
- Chechen leader: ‘The roots of evil must be searched for in America’ (guardian.co.uk)
- Bombing suspect on the run became US citizen last year on Sept. 11 (usnews.nbcnews.com)
- Bombing suspect became US citizen last year on Sept. 11 (usnews.nbcnews.com)
- Uncle to fugitive Boston bombing suspect: Turn yourself in (ctvnews.ca)