Ruslan Tsarni, the uncle of suspected Boston bomber Dzhokhar A Tsarnaev, has urged his nephew to hand himself in. Tsarnaev’s brother was killed after a gunfight with police.
Tsarnaev arrived in the US around a decade ago.
Neighbours recall the ethnic Chechen brothers riding bikes and skateboards on the street in Cambridge, Massachusetts, where they lived.
Former classmates expressed their surprise that the quiet, but popular and athletic brothers could be responsible for the twin bomb attack that killed three people, including an eight-year-old boy, and injured more than 180 others.
Despite having become a devout Muslim, Tamerlan married a Boston woman, Katherine Russell, from a Christian family and had a three-year-old daughter. Neighbours told the MailOnline that his 24-year-old wife had converted to Islam.
Dzhokhar, 19, attended the prestigious Cambridge Rindge & Latin school and had a place on the wrestling team.
In May 2011, his senior year, he was awarded a $2,500 scholarship from the city to pursue higher education. His success was even celebrated with a reception at city hall.
He attended the University of Massachusetts at Dartmouth, but the school would not say what he was studying.
The father of the suspects, Anzor Tsaraev, told The Associated Press his younger son was a second-year medical student.
“My son is a true angel,” he said by telephone from the Russian city of Makhachkala. “He is such an intelligent boy. We expected him to come on holidays here.”
He added: “They were set up, they were set up! I saw it on television; they killed my older son Tamerlan.” He ended the call angrily, saying: “Leave me alone, my son’s been killed.”
Dzhokhar’s page on the Russian social networking site Vkontakte says that before moving to the US, he attended a school in the capital of Dagestan, a predominantly Muslim republic in Russia’s North Caucasus. The men’s uncle said they had been born in Kyrgyzstan.
Dzhokhar describes himself as speaking Chechen as well as English and Russian and says that his world view is “Islam”.
Those who knew him have been stunned. The host of a Boston-based public radio programme, Robin Young, posted on Twitter a photo of her nephew with Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, their arms around each other, at their graduation.
“Heartbreaking pic,” Ms Young wrote.
Tim Kelleher, a wrestling coach for a Boston school that competed in 2010 against Dzhokhar’s team, said: “He was a tough, solid kid, just quiet.”
Dzhokhar’s brother, Tamerlan, 26, who died during the police shootout, was a keen participant in martial arts and boxing, even aspiring to fight on the US Olympic team.
A local Massachusetts news article in 2004, quoted a boxer called Tamerlan as saying: “I like the USA. America has a lot of jobs. That’s something Russia doesn’t have. You have a chance to make money here if you are willing to work.”
Tamerlan, who was identified in footage of the bombing as the suspect in the dark baseball cap, was reportedly arrested in 2009 for assaulting a girlfriend.
Despite assurances by former friends and neighbours that the brothers fitted in, Tamerlan wrote in a photo package that appeared in a Boston University student magazine in 2010: “I don’t have a single American friend. I don’t understand them.”
He identified himself as a Muslim who was studying to become an engineer at the Bunker Hill Community College and said he did not drink or smoke, because “God said no alcohol”. He said he hoped to fight for the US Olympic team and become an American.
Government officials said Tamerlan had travelled to Russia last year and spent six months there before returning to the US.
A YouTube user bearing the name Tamerlan Tsarnaev has posted a series of religious videos on the site. One extolled the prophesy of the Black Banners of Khurasan, which has been embraced by al Qaeda.
Other videos included those of the Australian Muslim preacher Feiz Mohammad, who preaches against the evils of Harry Potter.
His aunt Maret Tsarnaeva, who lives in Toronto, said he had recently become a devout Muslim who prayed five times a day.
She said: “He has a wife in Boston and from a Christian family, so you can’t tie it to religion.”
She said he had dropped out of university, causing his father great concern.
She said her brother had very high expectations for his sons, especially Tamerlan.
Before moving to Dagestan, the Tsarnaev family lived in Kyrgyzstan, a former Soviet republic in Central Asia. Leila Alieva, who went to school with Tamerlan Tsarnaev in the Kyrgyz town of Tokmok, remembered them as being an educated family.