“I mean, it happened — it finally happened,” O’Kane said. “We were feeling sort of immune. Now we’re just a part of everybody...The same expectations and fears.”
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In the hours after investigators released the photos of the men known only as Suspect No. 1 and Suspect No. 2, the city went on about the business of a Thursday night, a semblance of normality restored except for the area immediately surrounding the blast site. Restaurants that had closed in the nights just after the bombing reopened for business. At Howl at the Moon, a bar on High Street downtown, the dueling pianists took the stage at 6 p.m., almost as if nothing had changed.
But across the Charles River in Cambridge, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, 26, and his brother Dzhokhar, 19, were arming up.
Later, friends and relatives would recall both as seemingly incapable of terrorism. The brothers were part of an ethnic Chechen family that came to the U.S, in 2002, after fleeing troubles in Kyrgyzstan and then Dagestan, a predominantly Muslim republic in Russia’s North Caucasus. They settled in a working-class part of Cambridge, where the father, Anzor Tsarnaev, opened an auto shop.
Dzhokhar did well enough in his studies at prestigious Cambridge Rindge and Latin to merit a $2,500 city scholarship for college.
Tamerlan, though, could be argumentative and sullen. “I don’t have a single American friend,” he said in an interview for a photo essay on boxing. He was clearly the dominant of the two brothers, a former accounting student with a wife and daughter, who explained his decision to drop out of school by telling a relative, “I’m in God’s business.”
It’s not that Tamerlan Tsarnaev didn’t have options. For several years he’d impressed coaches and others as a particularly talented amateur boxer.