WASHINGTON (CBSDC/AP) — A U.S. law enforcement official and the uncle of the suspects in the Boston Marathon bombings are confirming that the name of the second suspect is Tamerlan Tsarnaev, the older brother of Dzhokhar A. Tsarnaev, 19. Tamerlan Tsarnaev was killed in a gun battle with police in Massachusetts overnight.
The uncle, 42-year-old Ruslan Tsarni of Montgomery Village, Md., told The Associated Press that the men lived together near Boston and have been in the United States for about a decade. They traveled here together from the Russian region near Chechnya.
An emphatic Tsarni exclaimed the bombing has nothing to do with Chechnya.
“They’ve never been in Chechnya,” he said. “Chechens are different. Chechens are peaceful people.”
During an interview earlier Friday with CBS Boston, Tsarni spoke poorly of his nephews.
“I would call him a loser,” he said of Tamerlan.
Tsarni says when last he heard, the older suspect had not been in school and he wasn’t sure what he had been up to. He did say Tamerlan had become a devout Muslim about seven or eight years ago.
“It’s not a surprise about him. The younger one, that’s something else,” he said of Dzhokhar.
“I just wish they never existed,” he added.
A massive manhunt continues in the Boston area for Dzhokhar following a chaotic night that included the fatal shooting of a police officer and the death of his brother. The city is virtually paralyzed as schools, businesses and mass transit have all been ordered to remain closed.
Tsarni pleaded for his 19-year-old at-large nephew to surrender to authorities and ask the victims families for forgiveness.
“If you’re alive, turn yourself in!” he exclaimed.
Tsarni told a large media contingent that he “respects” and “loves” the United States and would be the first to have alerted authorities had he know of his nephews’ nefarious plans.
“If I, even slightly, was aware that they were involved… I’d be the first one to bring them to responsibility,” he said.
The uncle also says he doesn’t know whether the brothers received any military training. He offered his condolences to the bombing victims.
“We’re sharing with them their grief. I’m ready just to meet with them. I’m ready just to bend in front of them, to kneel in front of them, seeking that forgiveness.”
Three law enforcement officials, speaking on condition of anonymity due to the sensitivity of the ongoing investigation, confirmed the bomb suspects were brothers.