“He moved like a gazelle. He could punch like a mule,” said Tom Lee, president of the South Boston Boxing Club, where Tsarnaev began training in 2010.”I would describe him as a very ordinary person who didn’t really stand out until you saw him fight.”
But away from the gym, Tamerlan swaggered around his parents’ home like he owned it, those who knew him said. And he began declaring an allegiance to Islam, joined with increasingly inflammatory views.
One of the brothers’ neighbors, Albrecht Ammon, recalled an encounter in which the older brother argued with him about U.S. foreign policy, the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, and religion. The Bible, Tamerlan told him, was a “cheap copy” of the Quran, used to justify wars with other countries. “He had nothing against the American people,” Ammon said. “He had something against the American government.”
Dzhokhar, on the other hand, was “real cool,” Ammon said. “A chill guy.”
Since the bombing, the younger brother had maintained much of that sense of cool, returning to classes at the University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth and attending student parties.
On the day of the bombing, he wrote on Twitter: “There are people that know the truth but stay silent & there are people that speak the truth but we don’t hear them cuz they’re the minority.”
But by Tuesday, when he stopped by a Cambridge auto garage, the mechanic, accustomed to long talks with Dzhokhar about cars and soccer, noticed the normally relaxed 19-year-old was biting his nails and trembling.
The mechanic, Gilberto Junior, told Tsarnaev he hadn’t had a chance to work on a car he’d dropped off for bumper work. “I don’t care. I don’t care. I need the car right now,” Junior says Dzhokhar Tsarnaev told him.