About the Show

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

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

On the Next Episode of The Lead

We've moved! Come join us at our new show page.

We've moved! Come join us at our new show page.

April 20th, 2013
05:17 PM ET

What could have driven the Boston bombing suspects?

A hail of gunfire punctuated the closing moments of the manhunt for the most wanted man in the country, which ended in Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, the second suspect of the Boston Marathon bombings, being taken into custody Friday night.

Tsarnaev is now under the watchful eye of authorities. Federal prosecutors may charge him while he is still in the hospital, where he is listed in serious condition. His brother, 26-year-old Tamerlan Tsarnaev, did not live to answer for his alleged crimes. He died after a shootout with police early Friday morning.

Watertown's police chief tells CNN that early indications are that the two men acted alone. But we are still learning about what could have driven them to carry out such an attack.

People who knew Dzhokhar Tsarnaev describe him as a "good kid," who was "dedicated," and "intelligent." Family members said Dzhokhar and his older brother Tamerlan were "angels," who would never commit such an attack. They were, by many accounts, normal young guys.

Nearly a decade before Monday's bombings, the brothers and their family - mom, dad, and two sisters - came to the U.S. from Dagestan.

"My youngest was raised from 8 years in America, my oldest, he was really properly raised in our house," the suspects' mother Zubeidat Tsarnaeva told Russian television station RT.

Tamerlan would never live to become a naturalized citizen. Dzhokhar gained U.S. citizenship last year, on September 11th.

Though Dzhokhar once tweeted, "a decade in america [sic] already, I want out," friends say the college student appeared to live a content life in Cambridge.

"He was just a quiet guy," one friend told CNN. "He was a bad driver, but that's pretty much it," said another.

As late as Thursday afternoon this week, Dzhokhar appeared on the campus of University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, attending classes and even going to parties in the dorms, a university official told CNN. Shockingly normal behavior from a college student who raised few flags.

"No signs of what you would see from a terrorist profile, you know, not a loner. He had a good group of friends," said Eric Mercado, a friend of Dzhokhar.

Tamerlan however, had a different profile. On its website, the FBI said it received information from a foreign country in 2011 that Tamerlan was "a follower of radical Islam and a strong believer, and that he had changed drastically since 2010." The FBI found no cause for concern.

"Tamerlan got involved in religion like five years ago. He started following his own religious acts, and he never, never told me that he would be on side of jihad," said Tamerlan's mother. "He was counseled by FBI for 3 to 5 years, they knew what he was doing, where on internet he was going."

The 26-year-old was arrested in 2009 for domestic abuse. But in the years following, the aspiring boxer seemed to turn his life around. He took a year off to focus on his sport, got married, and became a father. His wife's family released a handwritten statement today:

"Our daughter has lost her husband today, the father of her child. We cannot begin to comprehend how this horrible tragedy occurred. In the aftermath of the Patriot's Day horror, we know that we never really knew Tamerlane [sic] Tsarnaev," read the statement.

Tamerlan's uncle was also in shock.

"The reasoning to me, he used his younger brother. He wasted his life. I understand he messed up his own. He messed up his life, hurt innocent people. Maybe he turned to be evil, [was] confused. But were no political views based on what I know about him and that family," Ruslan Tsarni told CNN.

Tamerlan and Dzhokhar's father told CNN he will fly to America in response to his son's capture.

Despite his astonishment, family is still family, and it seems 19-year-old Dzokhar will still get help from his uncle.

"Yes. I'll certainly help him. First I'll try to help him to seek forgiveness," said Tsarni. "Anything else that he needs."

Posted by ,
Filed under: National Lead
soundoff (No Responses)

Post a comment


CNN welcomes a lively and courteous discussion as long as you follow the Rules of Conduct set forth in our Terms of Service. Comments are not pre-screened before they post. You agree that anything you post may be used, along with your name and profile picture, in accordance with our Privacy Policy and the license you have granted pursuant to our Terms of Service.