EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

April 19, 2013

Uncle urges bomb suspect to give up


The Eagle-Tribune

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MONTGOMERY VILLAGE, Md. (AP) — The uncle of the Boston Marathon bombing suspects urged one of his nephews to turn himself in today, saying he had brought shame to the family and the entire Chechen ethnicity.

"Yes, we're ashamed. They're the children of my brother," Ruslan Tsarni told a throng of reporters outside his home in Montgomery Village, a suburb outside Washington, D.C.

The suspects were identified by law enforcement officials and family members as Dzhokhar and Tamerlan Tsarnaev, brothers from a Russian region near Chechnya.

Tamerlan Tsarnaev, a 26-year-old who had been known to the FBI as Suspect No. 1 and was seen in surveillance footage in a black baseball cap, was killed overnight, officials said.

His brother, a 19-year-old college student who was dubbed Suspect No. 2, escaped. He was seen wearing a white, backward baseball cap in the images from Monday's deadly bombing at the marathon finish line.

"Dzhokhar, if you are alive, turn yourself in and ask for forgiveness," Tsarni said.

They lived near Boston and had been in the U.S. for about a decade, Tsarni said. He said he had not seen them since December 2005. He said his nephews had struggled to settle themselves in the U.S. and ended up "thereby just hating everyone."

Asked what he thought provoked the bombings, Tsarni said: "Being losers, hatred to those who were able to settle themselves. These are the only reasons I can imagine of. Anything else, anything else to do with religion, with Islam, it's a fraud, it's a fake."

Tsarni, who described himself as Muslim, said his brother left the U.S. and he had not talked to him since 2009. He said they had a personal falling out but did not elaborate.

He said his brother fixed cars for a living.

"He spent his time putting bread on the table," he said.

Chechnya has been plagued by an Islamic insurgency that has carried out deadly bombings.

Tsarni said vehemently that Chechnya had nothing to do with the attack. "I've been following from Day One, but would never imagine that somehow the children of my brother would be associated with that. So it is atrocity."

Ruslan Tsarni said he is a native Chechen, but "I love this country."

Earlier, in a telephone interview with WBZ TV of Boston, the uncle said his nephews had been in the United States since about 2000 or 2001.

When told that the older brother, Tamerlan, had died overnight, he said, "Good. He got what he deserved."

He called Tamerlan a "loser."

But he said the younger brother was considered a "success" — that he graduated from high school and either had started to go to college or was admitted to college.

He said he saw the FBI videos on TV yesterday, but did not recognize his nephews at the time.

"I'm wordless. I'm shocked," he said.

WBZ also reported that the father of the two suspects said Tamerlan was an "accomplished medical student ... an angel."

Another uncle, Alvi Tsarni, also of Maryland, was in shock.

"They killed my nephew. It's not possible he did this thing," he told WBZ from his home.

He said he had not talked with his nephews' side of the family for about two years because there had been "some problems with the family."

He said that yesterday he got a call from one of his nephews saying "Forgive me."