The suspects in the attack on the Boston Marathon — one killed, one on the loose — are brothers of Chechen origin, at least one a legal permanent resident of the United States, law enforcement officials told NBC News.
The suspect at large early Friday was identified as Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, 19, born in Kyrgyzstan, holding a Massachusetts driver’s license and living in the Boston suburb of Cambridge. He was the suspect in the white hat in surveillance photos from the marathon released by the FBI.
His father, speaking from Russia, told The Associated Press that he is a second-year medical student and “a true angel.”
An account with Dzhokhar Tsarnaev’s name on a Russian social media site lists Islam as his world view, “career and money” and his personal priorities and Chechnya as an area of interest.
His brother, who was killed in a firefight with law enforcement, was identified as Tamerlan Tsarnaev, 26, born in Russia. He became a legal permanent resident in 2007, the officials said. He was the suspect in the black hat in the FBI photos.
Both men were believed to have military experience, and to have entered the country with their family in 2002 or 2003, when the family sought asylum. The nature of the military experience was not clear. Later in the morning, U.S. Army officials told NBC knows that no one matching either name had served in the active-duty Army, or the reserves.
The city of Cambridge awarded Dzhokhar Tsarnaev a $2,500 scholarship toward college in 2011, according to The Boston Globe. The scholarships were for students at Cambridge Rindge and Latin School, part of the Cambridge public school system.
In 2002, Chechen militants seized a Moscow theater and held 800 people hostage for two days. Special forces raided the building and killed 41 hostage-takers; 129 hostages were killed, mostly from gas used by Russian forces.
In 2004, Chechen insurgents took hundreds of hostages in the Russian town of Beslan. The siege came to a bloody end two days later, and 330 people, about half children, were killed.
Tamerlan Tsarnaev was killed after a chaotic chase and firefight with police early Friday. Authorities were conducting a house-to-house search in the Boston suburb of Watertown for his brother, who was considered armed and extremely dangerous. Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick ordered people in Boston and some suburbs to stay inside.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.