A few things about the infamous brothers. So sad that they would take such a dark path when they had so much potential.
Acquaintances of the brothers, now dredging their memories, find themselves short on clues. Many say both were likable and well-loved in their neighborhood, not loners driven away by society.
Vasquez had been friends with Tamerlan and one of his sisters in high school. They would hang out together at cafes and talk about boxing, Tamerlan's real passion. Vasquez also coached the younger brother in soccer at Cambridge Rindge & Latin School.
Vasquez said he has "very positive memories, very positive interactions." "The crime doesn't fit the memories."
Clearly, if the allegations against the brothers are true, something changed. Vasquez thinks someone must have "got in his (Tamerlan's) ear and he passed that along probably to whoever he could recruit" -- in this case, he believes, the younger brother.
"In what I've seen of their personalities, the brain behind this is the older brother," Vasquez said. "When it comes to the two of them, he would lead and the little brother followed."
McCarthy ranks him as one of the best fighters he's ever trained. He won the open class heavyweight division for the New England Golden Gloves. The kid could've taken a gold medal at the Olympics, he said, but his immigration status prevented him from trying out for the U.S. Olympic team.
"I would say, 'Geeze, I've got an Olympic champion but he can't qualify,' " McCarthy said. "That was his only downfall -- the fact he wasn't a citizen. ... He had the gumption and everything to win it all. He was fearless."
At the gym, the younger brother, then just 10, would tag along and do calisthenics with Tamerlan. "He was a cute little kid," McCarthy said.
He recalled registering Tamerlan at the Golden Gloves. "While he was waiting in line, he saw a piano and was playing classical music like it was Symphony Hall," McCarthy said. "Everybody in USA Boxing heard it, and they went in there and they were amazed."
Boxers in his gym typically come from troubled backgrounds -- broken families, crime-ridden neighborhoods, absentee fathers. That wasn't the case with Tamerlan who had a solid family support system. His mother, father and younger brother would come to the fights. He went undefeated in his two years with McCarthy.
McCarthy sighed. Tamerlan was such a likable person; the only people who didn't like him were the guys he beat to a pulp in the ring.
"He was just a young kid then, and that's about all I can say as far as that goes. I can only say nice things about him."
If Tamerlan was the reserved one, Dzhokhar -- known as "Jahar" -- was the outgoing kid, always quick with a joke. That was one of his goals, his friends say, to make them laugh. The only time they'd seen him mad was if he lost a wrestling match. Even that was rare. He was an all-star, 135-pound wrestler who placed in the state finals.
One friend remembered seeing how happy Dzhokhar was at the TD Bank Garden arena last year when he became an American citizen. It was an especially patriotic day for those in attendance because the ceremony was held on September 11, 2012, a date that seems tragically odd in retrospect.
"Right now, it's like a big puzzle and we're trying to put pieces together," said one family friend who asked not to be identified.
Dzhokhar was kind-hearted, too. When he wasn't wrestling in high school, he volunteered at an after-school program to help kids with autism and Down syndrome.
"He was a funny comical guy. He had me laughing a lot," said Peter Tenzin, who co-captained the wrestling team with Dzhokhar. "After wrestling practice, he would rather go down and spend time with kids with learning disabilities than relax and go home."
Like so many in the family's neighborhood, Tenzin faults the older brother -- saying he likely brainwashed the friend they knew. "All I can say is I think his brother put him up to it," Tenzin said. "There's no way in heck that he would do it. Mentally, he's just not that kind of guy."
"He loved his brother and looked up to him, and that's why I think (Tamerlan) put him up to this."
"To see two brothers, both carrying leadership traits, flip the switch and jump into something so evil is astonishing," said Luis Vasquez. "It's not what we remember of them."http://www.cnn.com/2013/04/21/us/tsarnaev-brothers-relationship/index.html?hpt=hp_t1