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.

ByABC News
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..