EXCLUSIVE: Wrestling Photo, Stunned Reactions From Former Classmates of Bombing Suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev

Former classmates reached by Mother Jones recall the alleged Boston attacker, who remains at large.

 

 

Former high school classmates of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, the Boston Marathon bombing suspect who remains at large, reacted with shock and disbelief on social media Friday morning. The following screenshots provided to Mother Jones are of Facebook messages posted by former classmates of Tsarnaev, who called him “Jahar.” They were provided by a classmate who did not know the suspect well but who was friends with those who did; this source wishes to remain anonymous. Some of the former classmates’ comments assume Tsarnaev is guilty, though he is still only a suspect in the bombing, according to law enforcement authorities. In Cambridge, Tsarnaev was reportedly a 2011 City Scholarship recipient and wrestler. One photo posted on Facebook by a classmate appears to show Tsarnaev in a wrestling huddle with teammates:

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev wrestling team
 

A second former high school classmate told Mother Jones: “I did know Jahar. In the 4 years of high school I spent with him, he was nothing but a kind, unassuming, gentle person. He was funny, had lots of friends, and was very athletic. I haven’t spoken with him since high school (we graduated in the same class from Cambridge Rindge & Latin).”

Another acquaintance said she knew Dzhokhar from the University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth. She said he had a group of “maybe four or five” Russian-speaking friends whom he was never without. “All I really knew of them was that they smoked weed and liked to party, just like regular kids. Jahar was such a sweetheart.”

Other former classmates expressed their disbelief on Facebook:

“Watching the news I was texting a friend saying it looks like him as a joke, but to have them identify the person I called a friend…”

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev classmate reaction

“I can’t believe I went through four years of high school and was friends with someone who carried out a terrorist attack.”

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev classmate reaction

“I remember when he was the new kid in our class back in Cambridge Port. I had classes in high school with him.”

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev classmate reaction

“I don’t believe I know that bomber… And I’ve known him for years!”

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev classmate reaction

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev’s high school yearbook photo:

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev high school yearbook

*The names of two sources initially included in this piece have been removed at those sources’ request.

 

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Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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