Stunned friends pleaded for the surviving brother, 19-year-old Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, described as bright and outgoing, to turn himself in and not hurt anyone. Classmates reported seeing him on his university campus after the attacks, looking calm.
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His older brother Tamerlan, a talented boxer who is said to have a wife and young daughter, was believed to be 26 when he was killed overnight in a shootout with police.
Relatives of the brothers expressed shock, disbelief and anger.
Tamerlan Tsarnaeva (Photo: AP / The Lowell Sun, Julia Malakie)
"My children have never seen guns, only on television," their father, Anzor Tsarnaev, told The Associated Press in the Russian city of Makhachkala. "I have confidence in my children, in their innocence," he said. "I don't know what happened over there, how this came about. Only the God Almighty and the person who did it know what really happened, and the Almighty will punish them for that."
The brothers, who had lived in the violence-wracked region of Dagestan in southern Russia, lived together and had been in the country for about a decade, according to an uncle, Ruslan Tsarni.
Dzhokhar Tsarnaev (Photo: AP)
Tsami, speaking outside his Maryland home, urged Dzhokhar to turn himself in and ask for forgiveness. He said he hadn't seen his nephews for several years, and he said the family is ashamed. "If somebody radicalized them ... it's not my brother, who just moved back to Russia," he said.
An aunt, Maret Tsarnaeva, told reporters in Toronto that Tamerlan recently became a devout Muslim who prayed five times a day, and she doesn't believe the brothers could have been involved in the bombing.
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She said her brother was desperate when he found out Tamerlan dropped out of his university, because he had high hopes for his bright son.
Tamerlan married and had a 3-year-old daughter in the US, Tsarnaeva said. "He has a wife in Boston and from a Christian family, so you can't tie it to religion," she said.
Tamerlan once said he hoped to fight for the US Olympic team and become a naturalized American.
"I don't have a single American friend. I don't understand them." he was quoted as saying in a photo package that appeared in a Boston University student magazine in 2010.
Uncle: 'Turn yourself in' (Photo: AFP)
Government officials said Tamerlan traveled to Russia last year and returned to the US six months later. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they couldn't publicly talk about an investigation in progress.
Dzhokhar had attended the prestigious Cambridge Rindge and Latin school, participating on the wrestling team. In May 2011, his senior year, he was awarded a $2,500 scholarship from the city to pursue higher education, according to a news release at the time.
He attended the University of Massachusetts at Dartmouth, university officials said Friday, as the campus was evacuated. The school would not say what he was studying.
Classmates said they saw him on campus after the bombing. "He was regular, he was calm," said Harry Danso, who told the AP he saw Dzhokhar in the hallway of their dormitory this week.
The father, Anzor Tsaraev, said his younger son was a second-year student studying medicine.
"My son is a true angel ...," he said. "He is such an intelligent boy. We expected him to come on holidays here."
Watertown (Photo: Reuters)
Dzhokhar's page on the Russian social networking site Vkontakte says that before moving to the United States he attended School No. 1 in Makhachkala, the capital of Dagestan. The predominantly Muslim republic has become an epicenter of the Islamic insurgency that spilled over from the region of Chechnya.
On the site, Dzhokhar describes himself as speaking Chechen as well as English and Russian. His world view is described as "Islam" and he says his personal goal is "career and money."
On Friday, those who knew him were stunned. A host of a Boston-based public radio program, Robin Young, posted on Twitter a photo of her nephew with Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, their arms around each other, at their graduation.
"Heartbreaking pic," Young wrote.
Search continues (Photo: Reuters)
Deana Beaulieu, a 20-year-old who lives two blocks away from the suspects' home, said she went to school with Dzhokhar and was friendly with his sister. She hadn't seen him since they graduated.
"He was just a quiet kid," Beaulieu said of Dzhokhar. She couldn't recall his ever expressing any political views. "I thought he was going to branch off to college, and now this is what he's done. I don't understand what the hell happened, what set him off like this."
Before moving to Dagestan, the Tsarnaev family lived in Kyrgyzstan, a former Soviet republic in Central Asia. Leila Alieva, who went to school with Tamerlan in the Kyrgyz town of Tokmok, remembered an educated family.
Tamerlan "was a very positive boy, a good student, a jock, a boxer," Alieva said.
She remembered Dzhokhar as a little boy and said the family also had two sisters. She described the family as "very educated, of middle income." They had relatives in the US and left, she said.
"I can't believe they were involved in the explosions, because Tamerlan was a very positive guy, and they were not very Islamist," Alieva said. "They were Muslim but had a secular lifestyle."
According to the website spotcrime.com, Tamerlan was arrested for domestic violence in July 2009, after assaulting his girlfriend. That report could not be immediately confirmed.
"I like the USA," Tamerlan was quoted as saying in The Sun of Lowell, Massachusetts in 2004. "America has a lot of jobs. That's something Russia doesn't have. You have a chance to make money here if you a
Big man on campus
Classmates claim Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was seen on his university campus this week after Monday's deadly explosions.
The University of Massachusetts Dartmouth evacuated its campus after confirming that Tsarnaev, still at large after a shootout with police overnight that killed his brother, is a registered student there.
Robert Lamontagne, a university spokesman, declined to give details. He would not immediately say when Tsarnaev enrolled, what he was studying or whether he lived on campus.
Students said Tsarnaev lived in a dormitory. Harry Danso, who lives on the same floor, told the AP he saw him in a dorm hallway this week.
"He was regular, he was calm," said Danso, who described Tsarnaev as a quiet kid who sometimes would ask him for a homework assignment.
Sonia Ribeiro, 19, was in a philosophy class with Tsarnaev. She said he was on campus this week, but not in class.
"He was laid back. I would never expect this at all from him," she said.
Law enforcement officials and family members said Dzhokhar and his older brother, Tamerlan, were ethnic Chechen brothers who had lived in the Dagestan region in southern Russia.
Florida Addy, 19, lived on the same dormitory floor as Dzhokhar last year. She called him "drug" – the Russian word for friend, pronounced "droog" – and said they would sometimes hang out together in his room.
She said he spent a lot of time with other kids from Russia and that a few times she accompanied him to the apartment of some Russian students he knew not far from campus. She said he would always speak Russian in the apartment, although he usually didn't speak it around her.
He was quiet, friendly and a little mysterious, but in a charming way, she said.
Addy said the last time she saw him was last week, when she bummed a cigarette off him.
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