It emerged today that Boston bomber Tamerlan Tsarnaev’s wife is Katherine Russell, who converted to Islam for him, and they have a three-year-old daughter called Zahara.
Last night, Katherine Russell’s parents, Judith and Warren, issued an emotional statement following Boston Marathon attack that left three dead and 176 injured, reading: “Our daughter has lost her husband today, the father of her child.
“We cannot begin to comprehend how this horrible tragedy occurred. In the aftermath of the Patriot’s Day horror, we know that we never really knew Tamerlane Tsarnaev.
“Our hearts are sickened by the knowledge of the horror he has inflicted.”
The 26-year-old Chechen – who was shot dead by cops last night – was regularly seen at Katherine Russell’s family home in Rhode Island.
Their home was raided by the FBI and cops before dawn this morning.
At 5 p.m. today, Katherine Russell, 24, was driven back to the house by a relative and flanked by two SUVs being driven by agents from the Department of Homeland Security.
It appears that Katherine Russell – who also uses the last name Tsarnaeva – converted to Islam shortly after starting school at Suffolk University in Boston, to marry Tamerlan Tsarnaev.
After converting to Islam, the young woman used to dress in the Islamic style, neighbors said. Her hair was covered with a white headscarf and she was wearing very baggy, flowy clothing.
Tamerlan Tsarnaev got his American citizenship on September 11, 2012. He traveled to Russia last year and returned to the US six months later, government officials told The Associated Press today.
According to the website spotcrime.com, Tamerlan Tsarnaev was arrested for domestic violence in July 2009 after assaulting his girlfriend.
Katherine Russell, who has two younger sisters Anna and Becca, grew up with parents Judith and Warren in North Kingstown, Rhode Island, before moving to Boston for college.
Local reporter Ted Nesi of WPRI-TV 12 this afternoon tweeted: “Suffolk U. confirms to me that a Katherine O. Russell of No. Kingstown RI was a student there from Fall 2007-Spring 2010. Did not graduate.”
Neighbors said that Warren Russell works as a physician, while his wife, Judith, is a nurse.
Tamerlan Tsarnaev , the older brother of 19-year-old Dzhokhar, who was captured last night after a massive all-out manhunt in Boston at its suburbs, died Thursday evening after an armed battle with police in Watertown.
Meanwhile, the brothers’ aunt Maret Tsarnaeva, who works as a doctor in Canada, was insistent as she told reporters in Toronto today that her nephew was in love with his wife and daughter.
“He has a wife in Boston and from a Christian family, so you can’t tie it to religion,” Maret Tsarnaeva said.
“At that age all they want is love, so he found his love, he married, he had a daughter, and he was very happy about his daughter.”
However, Maret Tsarnaeva admitted Tamerlan “seemingly did not find himself yet in America, because it’s not easy”.
Demanding proof the brothers were the bombers, Maret Tsarnaeva said: “We’re talking about three dead people, 100-something injured, and I do not believe, I just do not believe our boys would do that … I don’t know them in the way that they could be capable of this.”
Maret Tsarnaeva said the boys’ father, her brother Anzor Tsarnaev, had high expectations for his sons, especially Tamerlan, and was upset when he found out Tamerlan had dropped out of university.
Tamerlan Tsarnaev wasn’t a devout practicing Muslim, “but just recently, maybe two years ago, he started praying five times a day”, she said.
Maret Tsarnaeva said her brother’s family came to the US in 2002 after she helped them apply for refugee status. She said the family also has two sisters who live in Boston.
Tamerlan Tsarnaev, the older of the two Chechen brothers accused in the Boston Marathon bombings, once dreamed of representing the US as a boxer, but over the past year, he had turned to radical Islam and got on the path of Jihad.
Officials say Tamerlan Tsarnaev and his younger brother, Dzhokhar – refugees from the Caucasus region – were the men behind the horrific terrorist attack that took the lives of three and left 176 injured during the Boston Marathon on Monday.
Hours before his death, Tamerlan Tsarnaev called his uncle Alvi Tsarnaev and asked for forgiveness – revealing the news of his young family.
Alvi Tsarnaev told The (Westchester County, N.Y.) 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 Tamerlan was shot dead.
“He said, <<I love you and forgive me>>,” said Alvi Tsarnaev, who lives in Montgomery Village, Maryland.
“We were not talking for a long time because there were some problems,” Alvi Tsarnaev said, without elaborating.
“We were not happy with each other.”
They spoke for about five minutes, he said. Tamerlan Tsarnaev, 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 and Alvi Tsarnaev said: “I told him I was praying to Allah, not drinking, not smoking, and he told me he was happy.
“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>>.”