President Barack Obama has said there are many unanswered questions about the bombing, including whether the Tsarnaev brothers – ethnic Chechens from southern Russia who had been in the U.S. for about a decade and lived in the Boston area – had help from others. The president urged people not to rush judgment about their motivations.
PHOTOS: Bomb Suspect Hides Out
People who knew Dzhokhar Tsarnaev and his brother spoke to Pelley on “60 Minutes” Sunday night. Friend Rose Schutzberg said she was “floored” by the revelations.
“I saw his name spelled out perfectly on the New York Times Web page, and I lost it, really,” she said. “My heart started racing. I started to feel anxious.”
Schutzberg said she’d admired Tsarnaev and even had a crush on him, but had not communicated with him in some time. She said the person she knew was nothing like the picture that emerged in the wake of the violence in Boston.
“He was usually smart, but also humble, and, you know, incredibly funny,” Schutzberg said. “He was just an all-around wholesome and good person.”
Meanwhile, fellow University of Massachusetts Dartmouth students said Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was “not even a little” overtly religious.
“If someone a few days ago told me that one of my friends was responsible for the bombing in Boston, I would have named of at least 90 percent of everyone I know before I said Dzhokhar,” said Ahmad Nassri.
Members of the Muslim Students’ Association at the school told Pelley they wished Tsarnaev had come to a meeting at some point, so he could have learned more about his religion.
But Al Ammon, a neighbor of Tamerlan Tsarnaev’s, said the older suspect was fanatical and disagreeable.
“He was explaining how the Bible is a cheap copy of the Quran, and how it’s used for the American government as an excuse to invade other countries, and he also said that the most casualties in Afghanistan and Iraq are innocent bystanders gunned down by American soldiers,” Ammon said.
Ammon said Tamerlan Tsarnaev strongly believed what he said.
The bombings at the marathon last Monday killed three people and injured more than 180.
Investigators have not offered a motive for the Boston attack. But in interviews with officials and those who knew the Tsarnaevs, a picture has emerged of the older one as someone embittered toward the U.S., increasingly vehement in his Muslim faith and influential over his younger brother.
As of Saturday, more than 50 victims of the bombing remained hospitalized, three in critical condition.
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