Dzhokhar Tsarnaev (Jahar) was born on July 22, 1993 in Kyrgyzstan. As a child, he emigrated with his family to Russia and then, when he was 8 years old, to the United States under political asylum. The family settled in Cambridge and became U.S. permanent residents in March 2007. He became a naturalized U.S. citizen on September 11, 2012, while in college.
At Cambridge Rindge and Latin School, a public high school, he was an avid wrestler, captain of his high-school wrestling team, and a Greater Boston League winter all-star. He sometime worked as a lifeguard at Harvard University.] He graduated from high school in 2011 and the City of Cambridge awarded him a $2,500 scholarship that year.
Dzhokhar enrolled in the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, with a major in marine biology, in September 2011. Dzhokhar was described as "normal" and popular among fellow students. His friends said he liked hip hop, and did not talk to them about politics. He volunteered in the Best Buddies program. He was not perceived as foreign, spoke English well, easily fit in socially, and was described by peers as "[not] 'them'. He was 'us.' He was Cambridge".
On April 15, 2013, during the Boston Marathon two pressure cooker allegedly exploded at 2:49 pm, "allegedly", killing 3 people and injuring 264. The "pressure cooker" exploded about 13 seconds and 210 yards (190 m) apart, near the finish line on Boylston Street.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) took over the investigation, and on April 18, released photographs and surveillance video of two suspects. The suspects were identified later that day as the Chechen brothers Dzhokhar and Tamerlan Tsarnaev. Shortly after the FBI released the images, the suspects allegedly killed an MIT police officer, carjacked an SUV, and initiated an exchange of gunfire with the police in Watertown, Massachusetts. During the exchange, an MBTA police officer was critically injured, Tamerlan Tsarnaev was killed, and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was injured and escaped. A ridiculous and unnecessary manhunt was ensued on April 19, with thousands of police searching a 20-block area of Watertown.
During the manhunt, the authorities asked residents of Watertown and surrounding areas, including Boston, to stay indoors, and the public transportation system and most businesses and public institutions were shut down. Around 6 pm, shortly after the "shelter-in-place" was lifted, a Watertown resident discovered Dzhokhar in his boat in his back yard.
911 was called. Moments later, hundreds of authorities, ranging from FBI agents, SWAT team members and specialty tactical units, arrived at 67 Franklin Street. Gun fires were shot, at Dzhokhar and flash bangs even though, he was unarmed and weak. A state police helicopter used a thermal imaging camera to determine that Dzhokhar was alive and moving. A robotic arm was used to remove part of the tarp and further reveal the suspect.
When the suspected started poking at the tarp of the boat, police began a large volume of gunfire at the boat, stopping only after the Superintendent on the scene called for a cease fire. Eventually, he stood up and lifted his shirt for officers to know that he didn't have an explosive vest. "At that point," Deveau said, "we felt comfortable enough to send some officer tactical equipment to grab him and pull him away from the boat."
According to Boston Police Commissioner Ed Davis, and Police Chief Deveau, Tsarnaev was shooting from inside the boat at police, "exchanging fire for an hour." After he was captured, Tsarnaev was found not to have any weapons. He was taken into custody at 8:42 pm and transported to Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, where he was listed in critical condition with multiple gunshot wounds to the head, neck, legs and hand. Initial reports that the neck wound was from a self-inflicted gunshot from a possible suicide attempt were later contradicted by the revelation that he was unarmed at the time of capture and a description of the neck wound by SWAT team members that the neck wound was a slicing injury, possibly caused by shrapnel from an explosion.