The suspects in the Boston Marathon explosions are two brothers of Chechen descent who have lived in the US for much of the last decade, attending schools in Massachusetts. Any motivation for the act remains unclear at the moment, amid varying accounts of the intensity of their political and religious engagement. The older brother, an amateur boxer who hoped to join the US Olympic team at one point, was killed in a gunfight with law enforcement early this morning. His young brother was apprehended alive after being surrounded in a boat in backyard in Watertown, Mass. Here are some of the key details:
This is Dzhokhar A. Tsarnaev, 19 years old, the suspect in the Boston Marathon bombing who was captured after the manhunt in the Boston area:
His brother, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, was killed in a gunfight in Cambridge, Massachusetts, earlier this morning. This is a photo of the 26-year-old on the day of the marathon that was released by the FBI:
The brothers shared an address—410 Norfolk St. Apt 3, in Cambridge, Massachusetts—with Zubeidat K. Tsarnaeva, who is believed to be their mother and was was charged with shoplifting last June, according to the Natick Police Department. Here is that location on Google Street View:
- An explosive trigger was found on Tamerlan’s body at the morgue, according to the Boston Globe. He may have had a homemade bomb strapped to his body when he died, according to law enforcement officials cited by the New York Times.
- Dzhokhar was injured, according to the Times report, and officials tracked him by his blood trail at moments in the manhunt.
- Their family came to the US around 2002 to 2004 seeking refuge from the war in Chechnya, according to a profile in The Wall Street Journal. Their father was an auto mechanic who didn’t speak English well and left the US last year amid health issues, according to the profile.
- The father of the suspects, speaking to the Associated Press by phone from Russia, describes Dzhokhar as “an intelligent boy” and “a true angel.” He told the BBC that Dzhokhar was hoping to be a brain surgeon, and that unspecified “secret services” had framed his sons.
- Dzhokhar became a US citizen on September 11, 2012. The Associated Press says that Tamerlan spent six months in Russia last year.
- Tamerlan appears to have a YouTube account that includes playlists titled “Terrorists” and “Islam.”
- Tamerlan was apparently an active amateur boxer. Deadspin reports he won the Rocky Marciano Trophy for being New England Golden Gloves heavyweight champion in 2010.
- “I don’t have a single American friend. I don’t understand them,” Tamerlan said in a 2010 Boston University magazine photo spread (pdf, page 18) profiling him. Tamerlan hoped to be selected for the US Olympic team for boxing, and to become a US citizen.
- Tamerlan was arrested for assaulting his girlfriend in 2009, according to The Guardian.
- Dzhokhar appears to have a profile on VK, the Russian equivalent of Facebook.
- Dzhokhar is 19 years old, born on July 22, 1993, according to Pete Williams of NBC News. He became a US citizen on Sept. 11, 2012, according to CBS News.
- Dzhokhar is a student at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, according to Mother Jones. The school in North Dartmouth, MA, (about one hour south of Boston) said on its website that it was evacuating the campus because the suspect is a registered student. A fellow student told Mother Jones that he studied marine biology, and wasn’t particularly religious or outspoken about politics.
- Dzhokhar returned to UMass Dartmouth on Wednesday, working out in the gym, attending a party with friends, and sleeping in his dorm room that night, according to the Boston Globe.
- Dzhokhar attended Cambridge Rindge and Latin School. Two years ago, he was selected by the city of Cambridge as one of 45 recipients of a $2,500 scholarship.
- Dzhokhar was named a Greater Boston League Winter All-Star for wrestling in 2011.
- Dzhokhar worked as a lifeguard at Harvard in high school, according to the Harvard Crimson.
- The two suspects so far appear to have been acting alone. But their weapons and explosives cache could suggest connection to a broader organization, speculates The Daily Beast in a report examining the possibility that there were al Qaeda ties. (The Daily Beast says officials think they could have been “inspired” by al Qaeda, if nothing else.)