Late last night, a robbery at a convenience store in Cambridge, Massachusetts led to the shooting death of a police office on the campus of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Minutes later, an SUV was hijacked. The suspects drove that vehicle to Watertown in Boston, where they lobbed explosives and exchanged gun fire with police.
As of early Friday morning, it was unclear if this was related to the Boston Marathon bombing. But soon, authorities released a photo of the suspect in the carjacking, noting the resemblance to one of the bombing suspects.
By 7:30 this morning, a few facts had been confirmed. First, one of the suspects had been killed, an accomplice was in police custody, and the other suspect was still at large, the target of a manhunt by law enforcement. Second, the two are believed to be the suspects behind the marathon bombings. Finally, they have been identified as Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, 19, of Cambridge, and his older brother, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, 26, who was killed by police.
Writing at Foreign Policy, David Kenner provides additional detail on the two brothers:
Much of what we know about the Tzarnaev brothers is still unclear. They appear to be originally of Chechen origin, but spent much of their lives outside of the breakaway Russian republic. NBC News is reporting that Dzhokar war born in Kyrgyzstan, while Tamerlan was born in Russia.
One of the most interesting insights into Tamerlan’s personality so far comes from a photo album, titled “Will Box For Passport,” that photographer Johannes Hirn took of the slain suspect. Tamerlan was apparently a boxer who hoped to gain citizenship by being selected for the U.S. Olympic team: “Unless his native Chechnya becomes independent, Tamerlan says he would rather compete for the United States than for Russia,” Hirn wrote.
Other captions paint Tamerlan as a devoted Muslim. “I’m very religious,” he says at one point, noting that he does not smoke or drink alchol. “There are no values anymore,” he says, worrying that “people can’t control themselves.”
This is, of course, a still developing story. We’ll try to update as more becomes available.