Classmates say bombing suspect was a regular kid

April 19, 2013 at 2:09 PM
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CAMBRIDGE, Mass., April 19 (UPI) -- Classmates who remember Dzhokhar Tsarnaev from high school say he was a quiet, popular kid who competed on the wrestling team.

Tsarnaev, the younger of two brothers suspected in Monday's devastating Boston Marathon bombing, was being hunted by law enforcement officials Friday afternoon. His brother Tamerlan died early Friday in a bloody confrontation with police.

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, 19, graduated in 2011 from Cambridge Rindge and Latin School in Cambridge, Mass.

Ty Barros, a former high school classmate of Dzhokhar's, told The Washington Post Tsarnaev, whose first name is pronounced Jahar, was "a normal regular American kid" who liked sports and listened to rap music with other kids in the neighborhood. "He was a fairly popular kid; he was a fairly friendly, nice kid," Barros said.

Peter Payack, the assistant wrestling coach at the school, said Tsarnaev was team captain for two years during high school, The Boston Globe reported.

"He was a dedicated kid, and all the kids loved him," Payack was quoted as saying. "We only name captains who are good, but who also gain respect from his fellow wrestlers. He had to be a leader, and he had all those qualities. He was one of my guys"

Tsarnaev was a student at the University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth, which was closed Friday after being informed of the search for Tsarnaev.

"All students should evacuate campus immediately. Those who do not have transportation off campus should proceed immediately to Lot 1, where they will be transported to a secure location at Dartmouth High School where accommodations are being made," said a notice posted on the university's website.

The Post said Pamala Rolon, Tsarnaev's residential adviser in the dorm where he lived, described him as a typical college student. She said he never talked about religion or his parents but spoke fondly of his older brother.

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