In one of the most compelling moments of a harrowing day, Montgomery Village, Md., resident Ruslan Tsarni, uncle of the suspected Boston Marathon bombers, lashed out at his nephews in an emotional press conference — and defended his family and their Chechen ethnicity.
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The suspects have been identified as Tamerlan Tsarnaev, 26, who was killed in a shootout with police in Watertown, Mass. in the early hours of Friday morning; and his brother Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, 19, currently believed to be at large.
“Dzhokhar, if you are alive, turn yourself in and ask for forgiveness,” Tsarni said, reported the Associated Press.
Asked if the brothers had ever been caught up in the fighting in Chechnya, Tsarni replied, “No, they’ve never been in Chechnya, they have nothing to do with Chechnya. Chechens are different. Chechens are peaceful people.”
Asked what he thought provoked the bombings, an agitated Tsarni said: “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.”
Twitter almost immediately lit up with comments:
Wow, uncle of suspects Ruslan Tsarni is fiery – and smacking down suggestion that they represent Chechens. He's got airtime & he's using it.—
(@rachelsklar) April 19, 2013
Uncle Ruslan also handled that pack of rabid reporters like a champ. Actually made them shut up in the last 20 seconds y.—
Joe Randazzo (@Randazzoj) April 19, 2013
Uncle Ruslan- " When a Muslim or person of color does something someone always has to defend the whole community"—
mia farrow (@MiaFarrow) April 19, 2013
Ruslan Tsarni -the suspects' uncle- is the definition of a great American. If his sentiments about USA don't make you tear up, get checked—
Keith Olbermann (@KeithOlbermann) April 19, 2013