Profile of Boston suspects Tamerlan and Dzokhar Tsarnaev shows good upbringing, recent turn

5:21 PM, Apr 19, 2013   |    comments
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Boston Marathon Bombing

Full coverage of the twin bombing terrorist attack that struck the Boston Marathon on April 15, 2013.

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* Who is Dzhokhar Tsarnaev?
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Tampa, Florida -- The Tsarnaev brothers seemed to live two lives.

To everyone else they were a couple of guys growing up in America -- friendly and smart. But online, there may have been recent indications they were becoming far more radicalized.

"We're devastated. We're shocked," said Ruslan Tsarni, their uncle.

Tsarni offered a passionate condemnation Friday outside his Maryland home.

He told reporters his side of the family was beyond shocked.

"Yes we are ashamed. Of course, we are ashamed. They are children of my brother," he said.

The Tsarnaev brothers came to the U.S. about a decade ago from Chechnya as refugees escaping rising tensions with Russia.

Nineteen-year-old Dzokhar is described as very much American. He became a naturalized citizen, ironically, on 9/11 of last year.

He's a wrestler. Intelligent. He got a $2,500 scholarship from the city of Cambridge to pursue higher education, and their father says Dzokhar was a second-year med student.

But in Canada, Maret Tsarnaeva, the brothers' aunt, was less apologetic and more skeptical. A life under Russian rule, clearly leaving her filled with distrust for the government.

"Growing up - within the family, everything was perfect," she said.

So perfect, she finds this all impossible to believe.

She was instrumental in bringing them to the U.S. and was still, seemingly, in a state of denial.

"They could not have done this. Where's the evidence? All you're showing is two guys are walking," she said of the videotape taken the day of the Marathon bombing.

But on a Russian Facebook page, Dzokhar posted pro-Chechen videos.

His "World view" - listed as "Islam". His "Personal priority" - "Career and money".

Older brother, 26-year-old Tamerlan, reportedly posted radical Islamic videos on YouTube.

Before all of this, he too, had enjoyed a privileged upbringing in Cambridge with private schools.

He is a successful boxer.

Tamerlan became a U.S. citizen in 2007.

A website reports he was arrested in 2009 for assaulting a girlfriend.

A documentary quotes him as saying, "I don't have a single American friend. I don't understand them."

Despite the events of the day, Tsarnaeva wanted more proof.

"Three dead people, 170 injured and I don't believe - I just don't believe that our boys would do that," she said.

Tsarni, more accepting of the facts, tried to grasp for motive.

"The only thing I think was behind it, is them being losers," he said. "Not being able to settle themselves."

Through interpreters, both men's parents also expressed disbelief.

But if the two brothers viewed themselves as outsiders, they were the only ones.

Friends, classmates and coaches describe them as smart and very well assimilated to life in the U.S.


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