TODAY   |  July 31, 2014

Uncle: Boston suspect a ‘victim’ of older brother

“I don’t believe he was in full comprehension of what he was doing,” Ruslan Tsarni, uncle of Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, told Savannah Guthrie. Tsarni claims ‘a radicalization’ took hold of his older nephew, and that he believes both boys were ‘just executors’ of something bigger.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>> let's get more insight into the two bombings suspects from rusian tsarni. he is their uncle.

>> good morning.

>> we saw you yesterday. we saw your anger and outrage of what these two suspects are accused of. i imagine you were watching last night when dzhokhar was taken into custody. what was your reaction then?

>> i was relieved that he's alive. at least he has a chance to ask for forgiveness for those who he victimized or had involvement in and there's a chance for enforcement agencies to get to the bottom of it. i strongly believe they were just puppets and executers of something of bigger scale.

>> you know, that's interesting that you say that. your brother who are these suspects' father thinks they were framed. do you believe they were framed?

>> framed i see as -- there certainly were mentors. these children grew up in my house they were not with their parents. i know them. i saw what happened the last time i spoke with tamerlan in 2009 and i was shocked when i heard his words, his phrases. he started talking where every other word he starts sticking in words of -- when i questioned what he was doing for work he claimed he would put everything in the will of god were his words. it was a big concern to me. he called me confused when i started explaining to him that you need to make yourself useful to yourself and to your family and maybe you'll have extra to share with everybody else and he called me confused for that. and then i called --

>> i'm sorry to interrupt you. i want to clarify. it's one thing to become more devout and more impassioned about your religion. you seem to be describing something more than that.

>> devotion -- it wasn't devotion. it was something as it's called being radicalized. not understanding even what he's talking. he's just using words for the sake of the words. and not understanding the meaning of it. so that's what i saw. i immediately called the next day. i called one of the acquaintances of mine who is part of their family. i said are you aware who might be possibly influencing him? is it his mother? what is it? he said there is someone who brainwashed him, some newly convert to islam. i would like to stress of armenian descent. these are specific words. why i say this is his radicalization is a product of the very local place where he lived last year. in my belief it has nothing to do with russia a chechnya which he had nothing to do with. he leaned more toward ethnicity of his mother so therefore it started here. how it developed, i assume there could be something else.

>> what do you think should happen to dzhokhar now. he's in the justice system . do you worry for his health as we understand it he was wounded during all of this.

>> listen, i was angry yesterday. i watched news yesterday. i saw his body. with all the feeling, expression of sorry and condolences to the victims, martin, lu, krystle, the officer doing his job for his family, i can't call the brothers here victims. i knew them as kids. i want him alive. i want him alive. he's been used by his older brother. he's been used. he's just another victim of his older brother. he victimized others but he's been used by his older brother. so for 19 years old kid, i do not even believe what he had been in full comprehension of what he's been doing. for the sake of seeking forgiveness for himself and for seeking forgiveness