Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, the 19-year-old alleged Boston Marathon bomber who was captured alive after a manhunt on Friday, was not a loner. His life may have started coming apart after his parents divorced, moved abroad, and left him alone in the United States with his older brother Tamerlan. Tamerlan reportedly went out of the country for six months — possibly to get trained by Islamic radicals.
According to the Boston Globe, Dzhokhar had been a gifted student in high school and “volunteered with the Best Buddies program, which pairs volunteers with people who have disabilities,” but was recently failing many of his college courses at UMass-Dartmouth.
The New York Times reviewed his transcript, which shows Dzhokhar “receiving seven failing grades over two semesters in 2012 and 2013.”
Students described him as a pothead who often was smoking or “playing laptop video games in the common area of his hall.”
CNN reported that two years ago the father, Anzor, “returned to Dagestan and his former wife also returned to Russia sometime later.” Dzhokar and Tamerlan were left alone in the United States, and this is when Dzhokar’s troubles in school seem to have started.
Their parents did go back and forth to the United States to visit their children, according to reports and family members.
Neighbors told the Globe that “he would constantly hear yelling and police would often show up at the family’s apartment” before the parents split up and left the country. At the end of 2011, Dzhokhar reportedly contacted a history professor to learn more about Chechen history.
VKontakte, a Russian social media site, had a profile of a “Dzhokhar Tsarnaev,” who identified himself as a “resident of Boston and a member of the class of 2011 at Cambridge Rindge & Latin School.”
The profile reportedly lists him as a Muslim and the last posting to it was in 2012. He also reportedly partied after the Monday bombings and tweeted on his Twitter account.
According to the Globe, in April 2002, Dzhokhar–and his mother and father–applied to receive asylum in the United States. Tamerlan and two sisters joined them later.