Boston Bomb Suspect's Dad Learns of Son's Capture: 'Tell Police Everything'

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev described as an honor student and star athlete in high school.

April 19, 2013, 7:24 AM

April 19, 2013 — -- The father of a suspected Boston Marathon bomber started to cry when ABC News told him that his son had been captured alive.

"Thank God," Anzor Tsarnaev said, speaking in Russian, thanking ABC News for relaying word that his son, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, 19, was in custody and alive.

Asked what he wanted to tell his son, Anzor Tsarnaev said, "Tell police everything. Everything. Just be honest."

Tsarnaev spoke to ABC News on more than one occasion today from his home in Makhachkala, the capital of Dagestan, Russia, as Boston police carried out an intense dragnet for his son.

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev survived a running gun battle with police during the night that left an MIT security officer dead and a Boston police officer badly wounded. His older brother, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, 26, died in the shootout.

The father said he had spoken to his sons by phone earlier this week.

"We talked about the bombing. I was worried about them," Anzor Tsarnaev said.

He said his sons reassured him, saying, "Everything is good, Daddy. Everything is very good."

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The elder Tsarnaev, in a series of conversations with ABC News, insisted his sons were innocent, but said he would appeal to his son to "surrender peacefully."

"Give up. Give up. You have a bright future ahead of you. Come home to Russia," the dad said.

The father warned, however, "If they killed him, then all hell would break loose."

"If they kill my second child, I will know that it is an inside job, a hit job. The police are to blame," the father told ABC News. "Someone, some organization is out to get them."

Anzor Tsarnaev said that his sons were "set up" and that they are "very nice kids" who have no experience with weapons and explosives.

The father said his two daughters, ages 22 and 24, live in the U.S. One lives in West New York, N.J.

Profiles of the brothers give a conflicting picture.

The older brother, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, was described as an outgoing person who was a champion boxer, a "decent" pianist, drove a Mercedes and liked the movie "Borat." But in captions on an undated boxing photo album operated by photographer Johannes Hirn, Tamerlan Tsarnaev said, "I don't have a single American friend, I don't understand them."

He also told the photographer he was a "very religious" Muslim boxer who did not smoke or drink. One caption said he usually did not take his shirt off so girls wouldn't get bad ideas.

"There are no values anymore," he said, and worried that "people can't control themselves."

Before he was taken into custody, the younger brother, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, was described as willing to die in a battle with police. But he was better known for taking acting classes, advanced placement courses and being a star athlete with lots of friends in high school.

He played soccer every Monday with University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth classmates, but he didn't show up for this week's game. He didn't return his teammates' calls. One teammate told ABC News that Dzhokar Tsarnaev was a "quiet guy" who was "a little bit of a druggie."

"He never seemed out of the ordinary at all," high school classmate Sierra Schwartz told "Good Morning America" today. "This is not someone who seemed troubled in high school or shy. He was just one of us. It's very weird."

One of the most surprising details about the younger Tsarnaev brother is the revelation that he became a U.S. citizen last year on 9/11, the anniversary of the worst terror attack in U.S. history.

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Steven Owens told ABC News, "I met him when I was in seventh grade and he was just a great kid. He was fun to be around. Very studious, very smart. I don't remember a time when he was ever having trouble in school. He was a great athlete. Great to be around."

Owens said Tsarnaev "always had a positive attitude," but had expressed some political opinions in school.

"He always thought the war [Iraq, Afghanistan] was stupid," Owens said. "He didn't enjoy the idea of war. We didn't really talk about it much. The only time it ever really came up was when we were learning about it in school."

When Owens first saw authorities' photos of Tsarnaev, he wasn't positive it was him since he hadn't seen him in a few years.

"I started looking through my yearbook because I thought I recognized him and there he was," Owens said. "I was just so surprised."

After high school, Tsarnaev went to UMass Dartmouth. Today students were evacuated from their dorms, following confirmation that Tsarnaev had lived in the Pinedale residence hall.

The search for Tsarnaev, of Cambridge, Mass., had effectively shut down Boston and its surrounding cities, including Watertown, Mass..

Bomb Suspects Uncle Calls Nephews "Losers"

Both brothers were born in Kyrgyzstan, according to their uncle, Ruslan Tsarni, who said he has not seen his nephews since December 2005. The uncle was angry over what his nephews are accused of doing.

The enraged uncle said the only explanation for their behavior is "hatred to those that were able to settle themselves" and "being losers."

"If you are alive, turn yourself in and ask for forgiveness from the victims, from the injured and from those who left," Tsarni shouted, delivering a message to his nephew. "He put a shame on our family. He put a shame on the entire Chechen enthnicity."

John Curran, Tamerlan Tsarnaev's former boxing coach, told ABC News that Tsarnaev was the New England champion for two or three years in a row and was considering turning pro. Curran said he had not been in contact with him since 2010.

Curran said that before the bombing he would have agreed with the portrayal of Tsarnaev as a peaceful, courteous young man.

"I would agree on all of those if I was asked two days before the bombing what I thought of this young man," Curran said. "I'd say he was a fine young man. Very good athlete. Very courteous. Just a nice guy. I'm shocked beyond belief he was involved in this."

Curran said Tamerlan Tsarnaev was an extrovert and his brother an introvert.

Sierra Schwartz said she went to Cambridge Rindge and Latin High School with Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. She recognized him immediately when she saw his photo released by authorities.

"I was like, 'Wow, that looks just like Dzhokhar,'" she said. She then noticed that his Facebook page had been deleted.

Schwartz knew he went to college, but did not remember where. She last saw him in Cambridge in the summer of 2011 before starting college. She was not aware that he had a brother.

"He was a great athlete. He did well. I think he won a scholarship for it," Schwartz said. "This is very unexpected. ... This is out of the ordinary. Completely shocking."

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Schwartz is still reeling from the news that her former classmate had become the most wanted person in America.

"When I woke up, it's like I'm living a nightmare right now. It can't be described," she said earlier today.

"We all knew him for four years and that's something a lot of people can't say," she added.

The Monday bombing near the finish line of the Boston Marathon killed three people and injured more than 170.

Michael S. James contributed to this report.