One of the oldest friends of Boston Marathon bombing suspect Tamerlan Tsarnaev has broken his silence about his pal, who was killed during a chaotic shootout with police several days after the explosions. Sebastian A. Freddura, whom the Boston Globe describes as hip-hop performer, says he used to see Tamerlan almost daily, until Tamerlan got involved with his future wife Katherine O. Russell.
“We’d smoke a jay and he’d come out and pray," Freddura tells the Globe. "He’d wash his hands and lay it out in the backyard and pray for 20 minutes or a half-hour a handful of times a day." He described Tamerlan as "boisterous," and recalled going to nightclubs with the boxer, as well as playing floor hockey. But the two men grew apart around the time Tamerlan started dating Russell. Russell converted to Islam, and relatives of Tamerlan claim he came under the influence of a radical who brainwashed him. (That individual is not under investigation.)
Describing the moment when he saw the photos of the Tsarnaevs distributed by law enforcement officials, Freddura called it an "arrow in the heart. There wasn’t really a doubt in my mind in terms of recognizing him." During the subsequent manhunt, the brothers didn't stray far from familiar territory—they carjacked a Mercedes-Benz SUV a half-mile from the gym where Tamerlan boxed, and they passed through Freddura’s neighborhood three times. In the end, Tamerlan was killed 1,000 feet from his old friend’s back yard where he used to get high and pray.