The suspects in the Boston Marathon bombings are ethnic Chechen brothers who spent much of their lives away from the breakaway Russian republic and showed few outward signs of radicalism in the United States.
Much is still unknown about Dzhokhar and Tamerlan Tsarnaev, named by a national security official as suspects in the twin bombings that killed three people and wounded 176 on Monday.
Tamerlan, 26, a one-time Golden Gloves amateur boxer, was killed in a shootout late on Thursday. Dzhokhar, 19, described as a low-key student in high school, was the target of a massive manhunt on Friday.
Dzhokhar said on his page on VK, a Russian-language social media site, that he went to primary school in Makhachkala, the capital of Dagestan, a province in Russia’s Causcasus region that borders Chechnya.
He graduated in 2011 from Cambridge Rindge & Latin School, a public school near Harvard University in Cambridge. His “Worldview” is listed as “Islam” and his “Personal priority” is “career and money.”
He had enrolled at University of Massachusetts Dartmouth.
A high school classmate, Eric Machado, told CNN that Dzhokhar showed no “tell-tale signs of malicious behavior.”
“We partied. We hung out. We were good high school friends,” he said.
Machado recalled that Dzhokhar once said something in conversation about terrorism, but there was “no evidence that would lead any of us to believe that he would be capable of this.”
But although an unnamed former classmate described him to Boston television station WBZ as the “class clown,” his VK page showed links to Islamic websites and others calling for Chechen independence.
Tamerlan, a student at Bunker Hill Community College, had trained as a boxer. After winning a Golden Gloves bout in nearby Lowell, Massachusetts, in 2004, he told the local newspaper, “I like the USA … America has a lot of jobs.
“That’s something Russia doesn’t have. You have a chance to make money here if you are willing to work.”