In an anguished interview, the father of the suspects in the Boston Marathon bombing described his fugitive son as a smart and accomplished “angel.”
Anzor Tsarnaev spoke with The Associated Press by telephone from the southern Russian republic of Dagestan after police said one of his sons, 26-year-old Tamerlan, had been killed in a shootout and the other, Dzhokhar, was being intensely pursued.
“My son is a true angel,” the elder Tsarnaev said. He said his son was “an intelligent boy” who was studying medicine.
“We expected him to come on holidays here,” he said.
“They were set up, they were set up!” he exclaimed. “I saw it on television; they killed my older son, Tamerlan.”
Anzor Tsarnaev, badly agitated, gave little more information and ended the call angrily, saying, “Leave me alone, my son's been killed.”
The family's origins are in Chechnya, the mostly Muslim Russian republic where separatist rebels fought two full-scale wars with Russian forces since 1994.
A spokesman for Chechnya's leader said the family left Chechnya long ago and went to Central Asia, then moved to Dagestan, a Muslim republic adjacent to Chechnya that has been the site of a sporadic insurgency for more than a decade.
Dzhokhar Tsarnaev attended School No. 1 in Makhachkala, the capital of Dagestan. The principal's secretary at School No. 1, Irina Bandurina, told the AP that Tsarnaev left for the U.S. in March 2002.
An uncle, Ruslan Tsarni, of Montgomery Village, Md., told The Associated Press that the men lived together near Boston and have been in the United States for about a decade.
In May 2011, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, then a senior at a prestigious high school, was awarded a $2,500 scholarship from that city to pursue higher education.
Dzhokhar Tsarnaev's page on the Russian social networking site Vkontakte says he attended Cambridge Rindge and Latin School, graduating in 2011, the year he won the scholarship, which was celebrated with a reception at city hall, according to a news release issued at the time.
On the website, he 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.”
According to the website spotcrime.com, Tamerlan was arrested on a domestic violence charge in July 2009, accused of assaulting his girlfriend.
He was an amateur boxer, listed as a competitor in a National Golden Gloves competition in 2009.