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Anchored by Jake Tapper, The Lead airs at 4 p.m. ET on CNN.

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April 20th, 2013
07:02 PM ET

Bombing suspect described as 'extremist' and 'violent'

Three women who knew Boston bombing suspect Tamerlan Tsarnaev in college said from the very beginning, they never liked him. Tsarnaev was killed early Friday morning in a shootout in Watertown, Massachusetts. The women were former roommates of Tsarnaev's wife, Katherine Russell, and met him when he and Katherine first began dating.

"They thought that he was very controlling, they described him as manipulative of her, and they said that he had a real violent streak that really troubled them," said NPR's Laura Sullivan, who found and interviewed the young women.

The FBI interviewed Tsarnaev in 2011 because the Russian FSB, successor to the KGB, were concerned that he might be an Islamic extremist. Sullivan's reporting reveals that Tsarnaev became something of an extremist much earlier.

"It was about 2008, 2009 when these women say they saw Tamerlan begin to change. He stopped going out with them, he stopped drinking, he stopped smoking," said Sullivan.

"He at that point said to Katherine Russell that she also had to become a Muslim, join Islam, and that she had to start covering herself, wear a hijab," added Sullivan. Katherine obeyed Tamerlan.

The women, said Sullivan, said Tsarnaev also expressed what they called extremist point of views, telling Sullivan that, "He was angry with the American government, and that he felt that Islam was under attack."

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