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Suspects' Uncle Asks for Forgiveness; Boston Area on Lockdown for Manhunt; Suspects' Aunt Speaks to Media.
Aired April 19, 2013 - 13:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Let's play a little of that. Here's the uncle. His name is Ruslan Tsarni. And he says these two young men, these suspects, one of whom is now dead, brought shame to the family and to the people of Chechnya.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RUSLAN TSARNI, UNCLE OF BOMB SUSPECTS: What happened and what we heard this morning about people associated with my family, my family associated, I want to start and I will finish. First, the only purpose here to share our condolences with those who have been murdered, those who've been injured, this boy, this Chinese girl, this young 29 years old girl, I just been following this. I've been following it from day one, but never ever, ever would imagine that somehow the children of my brother would be associated with that. So it is a shock. We're shocked.
And again, I don't know this family does not know how to share their grief with the victims.
TSARNI: I don't know. We've not been in touch with that family for number of years. For number of years, for --
TSARNI: Pardon me?
No, they never lived here. They never lived here.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: When is the last time you saw them?
TSARNI: The last time I saw them was 2006. That was -- I'm sorry.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ERIN BURNETT, CNN ANCHOR: All right. We're going to just interrupt this now. This is the uncle, of course, of the two suspects. There's a press conference going on now.
KURT SCHWARTZ, FEMA: -- shelter in place in work sites and offices throughout the region and particularly in some of our large Boston employers. So I need to speak to those people. If you are at work, we do not expect you to shelter in place and stay there, we encourage you to leave to get in your cars and drive home. We understand that public transit is not running. Taxis are now running in the city of Boston. The taxis are available. If necessary, you can call friends and ask them to pick you up. But we want to make clear that we are not expecting people to be sheltering in place throughout the day and into the night in businesses.
So, again, I thank the media for helping us deliver this message. We'll push it out a number of ways.
But again, if you are at work, please feel free to get in your cars and drive home and shelter in place at home. Call taxis, if necessary call friends to come get you. Thank you very much. Schwartz. Thank you. There's been no change in the geographical area covered by our request. We're asking people in the same areas to stay home and stay indoors.
Thank you very much.
SCHWARTZ: Kurt Schwartz, S-C-H-W-A-R-T-Z. Thank you.
SCHWARTZ: There's been no change in the geographical area covered by our request. No change. We're asking people in the same areas to stay home and stay indoors. Thank you.
BURNETT: That was Kurt Schwartz, director of the emergency management services. (AUDIO PROBLEM). People still to stay at home. And if you're not at home, get in your car now and go home.
BLITZER: Yes. They want as few people out on the streets as possible right now because they don't know where the second suspect is. He's 19 years old, named Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, the younger brother of Tamerlan Tsarnaev. He's dead. These are the two suspects identified by the FBI in the video and still photos that were released yesterday. A massive manhunt underway right now for this younger 19-year-old.
He was a student at the University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth. No relation to Dartmouth College. University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth here in Massachusetts.
He's been speaking to a lot of his associates, friends. He was a wrestler on the wrestling team. He seemed to be a normal kid and, all of a sudden, we're learning maybe not so normal.
BURNETT: Wolf, I had kept a list as we were interviewing people who knew the younger brother. I want to emphasize, the older brother, there have not been any people we've been speaking to. The older brother seems to be more reclusive. But the younger brother -- grateful, jovial, compassionate, caring, good work ethic, lovely kid. I mean, we've heard again and again positive things about this young man. And yet, he has done a horrible thing. So what changed and how did this happen?
We'll take a quick break and we'll be back in just a moment.
BLITZER: Welcome back to our continuing coverage. We're following the breaking news, a dragnet, a massive manhunt underway here in the Boston area for a 19-year-old named Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. He's one of the two suspects the FBI identified yesterday. His older brother, Tamerlan Tsarnaev dead as a result of a police chase and exchange of fire with police. They did find an explosive device on the older brother's body. As a result there's a lockdown in so many parts of this area as they search for this remaining suspect, this 19-year-old right now.
Their uncle, a man by the name of Ruslan Tsarni, just a few minutes ago, played the video, showed the video to you. He walked out of his house. And we didn't know what he was doing, but he actually wanted to go -- and you can see he went to the neighbors to basically apologize because all the media have located outside of his house. He made a bit of a passionate statement to the media a while ago to completely try to disassociate himself, his family, people of Chechnya from these two young men.
BURNET: Talked about the shame that he felt.
I also wanted to report something here, Wolf. We have reported that Dzhokhar, the younger son, got his citizenship, became a U.S. citizen on September of 2012. His older brother only had a green card, the older brother that is now dead. But the younger suspect at large right now got his citizenship on September 11th. So we called the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services to find out, could you choose your day? There was time in this country's history when you could choose your day. We were wondering if that was significant. They confirmed, indeed, that you cannot. So there is a great irony in that.
WOLF: It's a coincidence that September of last year, 19-year-old Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, the man on the loose, the man being searched by local, state and national authorities that he got his U.S. national citizenship. He had come here with asylum, got a green card and came to the United States.
BURNETT: Yes, on September 11th, which is an irony.
And as we try to put this together, when you take things like that and place them in what eventually -- right now everything is a Rubik's Cube -- eventually will become a chronology of how this young man essentially went from being a normal kid, as his friends have described him --
BLITZER: On the wrestling team in college.
BURNETT: Very successful in a lot of ways, with promise, had won a scholarship at Cambridge for $2,500 when he was a senior in high school -- how he became a killer. How he became someone who could do something so horrible. That chronology will come together of how that happened so rapidly.
BLITZER: Let's go to Tom Fuentes right now. He's the former assistant director of the FBI, our CNN law enforcement analyst, who's really been helping us better appreciate what's going on behind the scenes.
We know there's a lot going on here in the Boston area in Cambridge where these two suspects lived, in Watertown, where the encounter with the older brother ended last night in his death and the killing of this MIT police officer. What's going on? What's going in Washington right now? How much coordination, Tom, is there from the federal government in Washington and whether the Justice Department or other agencies in the U.S. government?
TOM FUENTES, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST & FORMER FBI ASSISTANT DIRECTOR: Well, Wolf and Erin, there would be general oversight from Washington, obviously, at FBI headquarters and Department of Justice. But much of the focus and much of the coordination is really on site in Boston among all of the agencies that are part of this massive investigation. So really the main coordination is actually occurring in Boston with oversight from Washington.
And then also you have the tactical oversight or the tactical or incident command post would be very close to where these searches are going on right now. But I'd like to add something else that would be going on in Washington, at Quantico and in Boston is that FBI and police psychologists would be working from the beginning to try to analyze these two, look at their demeanor in the videos, the interview of family and friends and classmates to look at their psychology.
And I'm not hearing this officially, but it seems to me from the videos that -- and from what we've been hearing from some of the interviews done in the media today that the older brother was the leader of the two and that the younger brother seems to have been a congenial great American kid, an athlete and leader and sociable and all of that. And somewhere in the dynamic it appears that the older brother brings him along to follow his idea of what's going to happen. In the videos, you see the little brother tagging along two or three feet behind him and following him up and down the sidewalk. So what I'm getting at is that since that brother is dead since last night, now what's the psychology of the little brother who was tagging along doing what the big brother wanted, now he's on his own. And you're hearing if he's watching media coverage and seeing family members disavow and say they're ashamed of him and calling him a loser, the big brother is dead, you know, rapidly the support group that he may have had even if it was a one, his brother, is gone. So now how does he think? As he becomes a cornered animal and especially as the police are sweeping these apartments and getting closer and closer to him, now what's he going to do?
I think that's the concern right now is that he's going to be as dangerous as possible at this point. And he may want to go ahead and really make a blaze of glory, if he can, using explosives, firearms, whatever means. They've already killed -- or he already killed a police officer last night. Nothing's going to stop him from doing that again. He's got nothing to lose. They killed so many people, they committed this horrible act, now he's on his own. So he's committed this horrible act. I think that's going to play a large part of what happens in the hours to come here. What is he thinking? That's something of major concern to the authorities now.
BLITZER: Yes, you have to assume not only is he armed and very, very dangerous, as the FBI has been saying, this 19-year-old Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, but also may be wearing an explosive vest designed to kill a lot of people in the process and take himself out in a suicide, Erin, in the process.
BURNETT: And that is the terrifying fear that they have.
Wolf, we have a little bit of new information I want to share that we've been able to confirm, and that is that Dzhokhar came to the United States when he was 8 years old.
BLITZER: This is the younger brother.
BURNETT: The younger brother, the one currently still at large came on a tourist visa and eventually became a naturalized U.S. citizen in September of last year. So he was 8 years old, a few days shy of his ninth birthday. His brother, though from the sort of profile experts have been sharing with us, seem to have been the leader or mastermind.
BLITZER: He was 26 and obviously a 26-year-old is going to be more mature than a 19-year-old.
BURNETT: Right. And we don't know the relationship between the two, but sometimes and idolize or look up to your older brother. The brother didn't come to the United States, Tamerlan, who was killed last night, until he was 20 years old, in 2006, which does give you whatever the most informative experiences in his life were, whatever inspirations he had for the person he became, that happened somewhere else.
BLITZER: And applied for asylum and permission to stay in the United States arguing if he were to go back to Kyrgyzstan or Chechnya or some place like that, in the former Soviet Union, one of those republics, predominantly Muslim areas, he could be in danger.
BURNETT: That's what he said. They were both here legally. The younger one a naturalized U.S. Citizen and the older on a green card, but again legally here.
BLITZER: You know, I think we want to talk a little about the controlled explosions that are about to happen.
Mike Brooks, the HLN law enforcement analyst, is joining us right now.
You know a lot about these controlled explosions. They can be pretty terrifying. If you're in a neighborhood, Mike, and you hear a loud boom and you don't know this is something that law enforcement is deliberately doing, you could be pretty scared.
MIKE BROOKS, HLN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: Oh, absolutely, Wolf. I'm glad that the colonel from the Massachusetts state police let everyone know that this would be happening. You know, this is -- they're concentrating right now on Norfolk Street there in Cambridge where the two brothers apparently lived in this apartment. But we don't know if there's explosives in the apartment.
What they're doing right now, special agent bomb techs from the field division -- and also I can guarantee you there's explosive examiners from Quantico, from the explosives lab in Quantico, Virginia. What they want to do is make sure they can gather as much evidence as possible in this apartment where they live. So, you know, they're doing an assessment. They probably have already done an assessment and decided what they're going to do. Have they looked inside and seen something they didn't like?
If you recall back at Aurora, Colorado, where James Holmes was, Wolf, you know we saw them using an alternate breach site. We saw them break a window and look in and they saw something they didn't like and then decided to do a controlled explosion, or we would call it a render safe procedure using a disrupter. So this is probably what's going on there at the apartment in Cambridge, Wolf.
So what they'll do is when they get ready, they'll probably let people know and you'll hear fire in the hole, fire in the hole, fire in the hole and then you'll hear a boom. Now, could it be to disrupt something that they see there already? That's a possibility. Or it could be to get into the apartment. And if there's something there, you could also hear another boom after that that could be a sympathetic detonation inside of something they're trying to disrupt. We don't know exactly what they have inside that apartment. But again, out of abundance of caution, the special agent bomb techs as well as members of the FBI's evidence response team who are there to pick up and do a small post-blast there, they're trying to gather as much evidence as they can. But again, being as safe as is possible.
And we've also seen the Cambridge fire department outside with one of their trucks hooked up to a fire hydrant for a water supply just in case there's any kind of thermal event, any kind of fire when this takes place. But again, they are doing everything, Wolf, out of abundance of caution.
BLITZER: Standby for a moment, Mike.
We have a guest. Mike Sullivan is here with us, the former assistant director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms.
Thanks so much for coming in.
MIKE SULLIVAN, FORMER ASSISTANT DIRECTOR, ATF: Thanks, Wolf.
BLITZER: We hear a lot about these controlled explosions. Would they actually explode one of these devices inside an apartment in Cambridge?
SULLIVAN: They'll do it -- make sure that the public is protected from the safety perspective as well as the bomb techs as well. This is a judgment that they have to make on a case by case analysis between deactivating a device in order to control the explosion. The controlled explosion really is intended to protect people. They'll do it in a way that provides the greatest protection.
BLITZER: Will they mother that bomb first?
BLITZER: You could blow up a whole building if you're not careful.
SULLIVAN: Obviously, they're experts with regard to this type of area. Bomb techs have been doing this type of work for decades. They have a wealth of experience. They have to make some judgment calls as to what's the most safest way of handling that explosive material.
BURNETT: But it's pretty incredible that they can do that. When you think about the skills that they have and the ability they have to deal with the situation, that they can do it as Wolf said in an apartment building.
BLITZER: They're so skilled that they could do something like that.
SULLIVAN: Well, they are. And in some instances, they essentially deactivate the device themselves. But they'll do it in a way that's going to protect obviously the technicians and protect the other public. So they'll make sure that they're prepared in the event something else happens.
BLITZER: Mr. Sullivan, don't go too far away. We want you to be with us. We are going to continue this analysis we're watching.
We're awaiting, Erin, controlled explosion because the suspicion is these two suspects had a lot of explosive devices in the Cambridge area.
BURNETT: That's part of what they have been doing in the door to door search, looking for a person and also looking for devices.
We're going to take a very quick break. We'll be right back.
BLITZER: We're continuing our nonstop coverage of the manhunt under way here in the Boston area. A manhunt for a 19-year-old, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, the younger brothers, one of the two suspects who, believed allegedly, was responsible for the bombings at the end of the Boston Marathon.
BURNETT: He took credit for that last night with a man that they hijacked him in his car. BLITZER: And then let that man go.
BURNETT: They let that man go, which is another very interesting small part of this story. Fascinating.
BLITZER: Mike Sullivan with us, former acting director of ATF, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms. He's here in Boston with us.
It is pretty weird. And I know you're an expert on these kinds of areas. They go ahead and kill an MIT police officer, they wound another one, they hijack a car, and then they let the driver go after telling the driver we were responsible for the bombings at the Boston Marathon.
SULLIVAN: Really no rhyme or reason with regard to the way that they just kill innocent people. Maybe that was their way of getting their message out that they were responsible for the bombings.
BLITZER: These bombs were described -- I mean, they killed three people, the Boston Marathon. They injured almost 200 as supposedly the two bombs, crude in a pressure cooker, if you will. Is that a fair description? You're a former head of the ATF.
SULLIVAN: Crude to the extent there was nothing sophisticated about the bombs, pressure cooker bombs. In fact, a lot like pipe bombs, except using a pressure cooker. It's packed with low grade explosive material, having some type of detonating device, something that can initiate the spark that low grade material, build up the gases and then cause the explosion.
BURNETT: We have been talking a lot about the contradiction between last night's behavior and today, where they seem completely discombobulated and out of control, had no money, hijacked a car versus how organized and planned they must have been in the attack itself. Say they must have done run through after run through. Do you think they were planned and they knew they were on video, all these things we assumed yesterday, or is it possible they were so confident with their ideology that --
SULLIVAN: You know, likely the latter. Obviously, the planning of the bombing was pretty significant.
BLITZER: Hold on one second.
BURNETT: Sorry to interrupt.
BLITZER: We're -- I guess we're going to go to Deb Feyerick, is that right?
MARET TSARNAEVA, AUNT OF BOMBING SUSPECTS: Tamerlan is --
BLITZER: Oh, this is the aunt.
BURNETT: This is the aunt.
TSARNAEVA: -- smart boy. Seemingly did not find himself yet in America, because it is not easy. My younger brother, Ruslan, he had high expectation of him. Because he knew he was smart. He knew he could use his potential, but, you know, and then when he found out that he dropped out of university, that was Ruslan was desperate because he always demands more of his children, of his nephews, especially Tamerlan, his favorite. So as I said, he studied, Dzhokhar. He's a smart guy. Studied well.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Can you tell us about when they came to the United States, where they had been living before that?
TSARNAEVA: I brought them here. I was in the states, going through my paperwork.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: When was that?
TSARNAEVA: That was 2001. So then in 2002, my older brother came to the states. That's when I filled out his paperwork, myself, for the refugee protection claim.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Your older brother --
TSARNAEVA: Older brother. No. Then in April of 2002, boy's father with his wife and little, Dzhokhar, came to the states. That's when I filed a petition for their refugee status. Because Ansor, back home, he worked as -- he worked in the enforcement agencies. He also -- so he was prosecuted. And us, we were lucky to take him out of Kyrgyzstan alive. That's when they came, April 2002.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Did you ever talk to them about living in America? Did they like it? What did they tell you?
TSARNAEVA: They always like it, you know. They liked it, they lived there. They didn't like it, they would leave.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Did they tell you anything about their life in Boston?
TSARNAEVA: I have to say something about the Boston. Kids' lives, freedom, that's what it is. Kids, as soon as they know, they are free, they do whatever they want, they don't listen to their parents, especially when they grow up. So that's it.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: But you said they were struggling --
TSARNAEVA: I didn't say he was struggling. I said it seemed like he wanted to find out what he wants. But at that age, all they want is love. So he found his love. He marries. He had a daughter and he was happy about his daughter.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Which one are you talking about?
TSARNAEVA: Older one, Tamerlan.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: So they came to Canada first and then to Boston?
TSARNAEVA: I didn't say he came to Canada first. Guys, listen. They came to the states, to the states.
TSARNAEVA: In 2002. First parents came, mother and father and Dzhokhar, when he was little. Three kids were back home in Kazakhstan living with my younger brother. So they came first. Because Ansor never goes anywhere with his wife. So that's why they came here. They just fled Kazakhstan. We applied for refugee status in the states. And he was given that status. And, by the way, likely -- it was given lightly because he founded, you know, he was convincing. So got his refugee status. And few months his kids united with them.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: You said he never traveled with his wife. Tell us about the family --
TSARNAEVA: Without wife.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Pardon me. Tell me more about --
TSARNAEVA: Without wife. Because he loves her dearly.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Tell us more about the family. What was the home situation like for the boys?
TSARNAEVA: Growing up, within the family, everything was perfect, because Ansor is a warm loving whole hearted father. That's why I don't know what will happen to him now when he hears this. But apparently, even when I hear, like, you know, Ansor said this and that, I don't believe Ansor said that. Who that said is his wife. I don't believe that Ansor is even able to speak now. As much as I know my brother, he would not be able to speak over the phone hearing this news.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Where is he now?
TSARNAEVA: He's in (INAUDIBLE). His wife is there also. She joined him a few months ago because they were going back and forth and back. I mean, his wife was going back and forth because they wanted their daughters to stay in their marriage.
As I said, two daughters, both have children, and with all the freedom in the states, they just, you know, don't want to stay with their husbands put. They want to travel.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: How many siblings?
TSARNAEVA: Four all together, two brothers, two girls.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: They have two sisters?
TSARNAEVA: Yes. UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Are they in Boston?
TSARNAEVA: They have to be in Boston.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: How old are they? Younger, older?
TSARNAEVA: Older. One is older than Dzhokhar, one is younger. No actually, Dzhokhar is the youngest and they're in-between.