Reporting Meghan McCorkell
GAITHERSBURG, Md. (WJZ) — One Boston Marathon bombing suspect is dead and his younger brother is in police custody. Among the first to speak out about the brothers–two uncles–who live right here in Maryland.
Meghan McCorkell and Mike Schuh report one uncle could be seen leaving his Montgomery County neighborhood after addressing the media and apologizing to his neighbors for the disruption.
Ruslan Tsarni says their family is Muslim but that he does not feel his nephews were radicalized.
Family members in Gaithersburg say they had not seen the two brothers in years, and they are ashamed of their actions.
Ruslan Tsarni says he had no idea his two nephews, Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, were the suspected Boston Marathon bombers.
“Never ever would imagine that somehow the children of my brother would be associated with that,” he said.
All residents of Boston were ordered to stay in their homes Friday morning as the search for the surviving suspect in the marathon bombings continued after a long night of violence.
The developments came after police say the suspects killed an MIT police officer overnight, injured a transit officer in a firefight and threw explosive devices at police during their getaway attempt.
Suspect No. 1, 26-year-old Tamerlan Tsarnaev, was killed in the gun battle with police in Massachusetts overnight.
The FBI arrived at Ruslan Tsarni’s Montgomery County home early Friday morning to question him and his brother, who are still in shock.
“I don’t know what to say. Unbelievable. I don’t believe it now so they did this,” said Alvi Tsarni.
Over a decade ago, two Chechen men fled their war-torn country for America. The uncles say they love America and what it has done for them and what they have been able to earn.
They revealed to reporters Friday afternoon that they are at odds with their brother, the father of the two suspects accused in the Boston bombings.
“My family, it has nothing to do with that family,” Ruslan Tsarni said.
Alvi Tsarni says his nephew Tamerlan called his Thursday out of the blue, but never mentioned the bombing.
“Yesterday he called me and said ‘forgive me.’ So it was like this. We was not talking together, I mean each other. And to forgive me,” he said.
Relatives say the two men have been in the United States since 2003. Ruslan Tsarni says the only motive he can think of:
“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.”
“I just wish they never existed,” he said. “I am wordless. I am wordless. I am wordless. I’m shocked…I’ve been watching this. I’ve been reading this. The people who did this do not even deserve to even exist on this Earth. That’s what I think.”
The uncles say they love America. Why their nephews chose the path they did, Ruslan Tsarni can only speculate. He says his nephew has brought shame to Chechnya and wants to apologize to all of the victims’ families.
“I’m ready just to meet with them. I’m ready just to bend in front of them, kneel in front of them seeking that forgiveness,” he said.
Around 5 p.m. Friday, Ruslan Tsarni could be seen leaving the neighborhood in a white minivan with his three young daughters inside.
Web Extra: Uncle Of Bombing Suspects Talks About His Nephews:
Some neighbors sympathize with him.
“I understand how he feels,” one man said. “You do something stupid and then now my family, my house and all that’s in the spotlight? No way.”
According to police, the suspects are brothers from the Russian region near Chechnya.
Friday afternoon, authorities from Chechnya issued a statement, telling the United States that the country is not associated with the suspects in any way or responsible for the Boston attacks.
Ruslan Tsarni says his nephews have been living near Boston and have actually been in the United States for almost a decade.
Web Extra: Uncles Of Bombing Suspects Live In Montgomery County:
Rochelle Ritchie spoke to the uncles’ neighbors in Montgomery County.
It’s an apologetic mission by Ruslan Tsarni, the uncle of the two Chechen brothers accused of setting off the explosives at the Boston Marathon.
After an emotional interview with reporters, Tsarni is seen apologizing to his neighbors for the disruption.
The quiet Montgomery County neighborhood is now in the international spotlight as news broke the uncles of the suspected bombers live in Gaithersburg—just 30 miles outside of Washington, D.C.
A 19-year-old neighbor who lives with his parents tells WJZ he met Suspect No. 2 a few years ago.
“He couldn’t speak very much English,” he said. “He just came off as a very shy person. I knew he was smart, but he dropped out of school. Then after that I don’t know what happened to him.”
It is a quiet and older community according to neighbors. Several large families live in the neighborhood. One woman says her children sleep over at the uncle’s home often.
“Our kids are friends and hung out together and have overnights and stuff,” she said.
Montgomery Village is not known for such police activity, so when the sound of helicopters hovered above, neighbors knew something big was happening and so did their children.
“She asked earlier this morning when the helicopters were around, she asked ‘Why are the cops around? What’s happening?’ She was worried about it,” one neighbor said.
Despite the connection to the bombers, neighbors here say it’s not a reflection of the family they consider friends.
“It’s a great group of people, and you would never think something like that,” a neighbor said.
The neighborhood is now saturated with police and the media at this hour.