Tamerlan Tsarnaev (Courtesy: FBI)
Natalie DiBlasio, USA TODAY
Police have identified Tamerlan Tsarnaev, 26, as the dead Boston bombing suspect. He was killed in a dramatic firefight with police in nearby Watertown, Mass.
A manhunt is underway for Tamerlan's brother, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, 19.
The brothers had been living together on Norfolk Street in Cambridge. An uncle, Ruslan Tsarni of Montgomery Village, Md., told The Associated Press that the men lived together near Boston and have been in the United States for about a decade. They came from the Russian region near Chechnya, which has been plagued by an Islamic insurgency stemming from separatist wars.
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Tamerlan studied at Bunker Hill Community College in Boston to become an engineer. He was a competitive boxer for a club named Team Lowell and took a semester off from school to train for the National Golden Gloves competition in Salt Lake City, according to a photo essay titled "Will Box for Passport."
In 2010, Tamerlan beat Southern New England's Brian Daniels in the heavyweight title bout. Tsarnaev also received the prestigious Rocky Marciano Trophy given to the New England heavyweight champ, the Lowell Sun reported.
WUSA-TV found photos of a man believed to be him boxing featured on a website. One of the captions for the photo reads: "Originally from Chechnya, but living in the United States since five years, Tamerlan says: 'I don't have a single American friend, I don't understand them.'" The captions also indicate he was a refugee via Kazakhstan, but wanted to box for US unless his homeland became independent, and he was "very religious."
His YouTube video includes several references to Islam: https://www.youtube.com/user/muazseyfullah
According to the website spotcrime.com, Tamerlan was arrested for domestic violence in July 2009, after assaulting his girlfriend.
Tamerlan's uncle told The Journal News that his nephew phoned him Thursday night, for the first time in about two years.
The call came at 7 p.m., just a couple of hours before Tsarnaev was shot dead.
"He said, 'I love you and forgive me,'" said the uncle, Alvi Tsarnaev, who lives in Montgomery Village, Md.
But he wasn't seeking forgiveness for the bombing. Rather, he was asking for forgiveness because he hadn't spoken to him in so long.
"We were not talking for a long time because there were some problems," he said, without elaborating. "We were not happy with each other."
They spoke for about five minutes, he said. Tamerlan, who is Muslim, started out by saying, "Salam Aleikum," an Arabic greeting meaning "peace on you." He then praised his uncle for keeping up with his Muslim prayers.
They talked about family. He said Tamerlan has relatives in the United States and his father is in Russia.
"I told him I was praying to Allah, not drinking, not smoking, and he told me he was happy," he said. "He was asking, 'Did you pay your mortgage?' I told him I was trying to pay. I asked him what he was doing. He said, 'I fix cars, I got married, got a baby."
When his nephew asked for forgiveness, he replied, "I forgive you and I love you."
He only learned that his nephew was a suspect, shot dead, in the news Friday morning.
"Killing innocent people, I cannot forgive that," he said. "It's crazy. I don't believe it now even. How can I forgive this?"
Contributing: Associated Press, WUSA-TV