Friday, September 19, 2014
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Boston bombing suspects: what relatives, others are saying

Here's a round-up of what relatives and acquaintances are saying about Dzhokhar and Tamerlan Tsarnaev, the suspects in the Boston Marathon bombing, in the wake of Friday's wild manhunt that left one of the suspects dead and the other in custody. Tamerlan Tsarnaev, 26, was fatally shot in a shootout with police, and Dzhokhar, 19, was apprehended and is currently hospitalized.

Ruslan Tsarni, an uncle, told TODAY on Saturday that they had "mentors" who radicalized them: "I strongly believe they were just puppets and executors of something of a bigger scale."

An unidentified student at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth told the Boston Globe that Dzhokhar attended a party there Wednesday night, two days after the deadly marathon bombings. "He was just relaxed," the student said.

Some people who knew the pair have said Tamerlan may have influenced his younger brother. "I used to warn Dzhokar that Tamerlan was up to no good," Zaur Tsarnaev, a cousin, told the Globe.

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  • Peter Tean, one of Dzhokhar's high school wrestling teammates, told the New York Times: "He's done these violent sports because his brother's a boxer. He really loves his brother, looks up to him."

    Rose Schutzberg, who attended high school with Dzhokhar, told the AP: "He's a great guy. He's smart, funny. He's definitely a really sweet person, very kind hearted, kind soul."

    Anzor Tsarnaev, the suspects' father, told ABC News that his sons were "set up." After learning that Dzhokhar was in custody in alive, the elder Tsarnaev said he wanted his son to "Tell police everything. Everything. Just be honest."

    Tamerlan was a boxer, and John Allan, the owner of a Boston martial arts studio, told Boston.com: "Tamerlan was an amazing boxer, one of the top boxers in New England. Even though he wasn't professionall, he would floor the top professional boxers in New England."

    Zubeidat Tsarnaeva, the suspects' mother, told the Russian news channel RT that the FBI had followed her family: "They used to come [to our] home, they used to talk to me...they were telling me that [Tamerlan] was really an extremist leader and that they were afraid of him. They told me whatever information he is getting, he gets from these extremist sites...they were controlling him, they were controlling his every step...and now they say that this is a terrorist act! Never ever is this true, my sons are innocent!"

    Emily Babay Philly.com staff
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