Manhunt for Teen Accused of Blowing up Bombs at Boston Marathon
Idia Irele is having a hard time believing that someone she went to school with is now one of the men accused of setting off bombs at the Boston Marathon.
“It’s hard to fathom that someone that I knew (and) saw every day would be capable of something like this,” she told NBC News.
Riele says she and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev were classmates at Rindge and Latin School in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
Investigators now say that Tsarnaev and his older brother, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, are the men who killed three marathon spectators, including 8-year-old Martin Richard, and wounded at least 176 other people.
They’re also accused of killing Sean Collier, a police officer at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, late Thursday night.
Tamerlan Tsarnaev was killed early Friday, during the manhunt for the two brothers.
As of Friday afternoon, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was still on the run.
And his many of his ex-classmates were struggling to get their heads around the fact that the kid they once knew is now considered a terrorist.
“(He) was very normal,” former classmate Sierra Schwartz told NBC. “This was an incredible shock to everyone.”
“He was a quiet and passive guy, well liked,” former high school wrestling teammate Ash Raful told NBC’s “Today” show.
“You always have to be worried about the quiet ones, I guess,” former classmate Deana Beaulieu added.
The Tsarnaevs’ uncle in Montgomery Village, Maryland, says the two brothers came to this country ten years ago.
To many people, they probably looked like all-American guys, dressed in athletic gear and baseball caps.
Tamerlan was said to be an aspiring boxer.
And Dzhokhar was into wrestling.
But in a live interview, the uncle, Ruslan Tsarni, repeatedly called the brothers “losers” who were angry because they were unable to adapt to life in America.
“Being losers, not being able to settle themselves,” Tsarni said angrily, describing the brothers during the live interview. “Hating everyone who did.”
Tsarni also told reporters that someone had “radicalized” his nephews.
“Never, ever would (I) imagine that somehow the children of my brother would be associated with (terrorism),” he added. “(They) put a shame on our surname … they put a shame on the entire Chechen ethnicity.”
Tsarni says his extended family is originally from Chechnya – a predominantly Muslim region of Russia.
Chechnya has been involved in a long and bloody struggle for independence from Russia.
According to media reports, the Tsarnaev brothers came to the United States from Kyrgyzstan.
That’s a predominantly Muslim country in central Asia that borders both Russia and China.
According to the Associated Press, Tamerlan Tsarnaev returned to Russia for six months last year.
Investigators say he might have gotten training from a terrorist group.
But that was not confirmed as of Friday afternoon.
On Friday, heavily armed law-enforcement officers were going door-to-door in Watertown, Massachusetts – the Boston suburb where they thought Dzhokhar Tsarnaev might still be in hiding.
And the entire Boston area was virtually locked down.
“Dzhokhar! If you are alive, turn yourself in!” his Uncle Ruslan shouted as reporters looked on. “And ask for forgiveness!”