As police attempt to capture suspected Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev after killing his brother Tamerlan in a gunfight last night, a picture of their past is taking shape.
Unfortunately it provides little insight into why they have terrorized the Boston area this week.
Dzhokhar, 19, arrived in Cambridge, Mass. in 2002 along with his parents and two sisters.
His father — an auto mechanic described as "a good hard-working guy who didn't speak a lot of English " by a coworker — moved the family out of Chechnya as its war for independence from Russia turned into a Kremlin crackdown, Alan Cullison and Devlin Barrett of The Wall Street Journal report.
Tamerlan , 26, arrived in Cambridge on his own in 2004 (though some accounts put it as early as 2000).
Before that Dzhokhar went to school in Makhachkala, the capital of the Republic of Dagestan, Russia between 1999 and 2001. He then lived in Kyrgistan with Tsarnaev in 2001 .
Tamerlan, who dreamed of being an Olympic boxer, attended Bunker Hill Community College in Charleston, Mass., as a part-time student for three semesters: fall 2006, spring 2007, and fall 2008. He became a legal U.S. permanent resident in 2007.
“I like the USA … America has a lot of jobs," he told he Lowell Sun in Massachusetts in 2004. " That’s something Russia doesn’t have. You have a chance to make money here if you are willing to work.”
On the surface the two brothers appeared to be embracing American opportunity in education — which is why their actions this week have baffled those closest to them.
The men have two sisters, one of which gave gave a pained interview to the New Jersey Star-Ledger from behind a door of her New Jersey apartment.
"I never would have expected it," A lina Tsarnaeva, who hadn't seen her brothers for several years, told reporters. " They are smart – I don’t know what’s gotten into them. "
When asked if she was OK, she replied:
“No I’m not OK – no one is OK right now,” Alina Tsarnaeva, who hadn't seen her brothers for several years, told reporters. “I’m sorry for all the people who are hurt and for all the people who lost their lives.”
Father Anzor told the Associated Press that Dzhokhar was a "highly intelligent boy" who was a medical student and a "true angel" despite having talked to his sons about the bombing.
He told ABC that he was appealing to his son to "surrender peacefully," but noted that "all hell will break loose" if police kill Dzhokhar.
In the end, none of these contradictions shed light on the heinous acts of violence committed.
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