Macabre tweet to Boston from terror suspect

2013-04-20 11:22
A screen grab of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev's Twitter profile. (News24)

A screen grab of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev's Twitter profile. (News24)

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Washington - Just hours after Monday's Boston Marathon bombings, one of the brothers accused of staging the attack urged his followers on Twitter to "stay safe people".

As the authorities hunted for Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, attention focused on the 19-year-old's social media accounts for clues about his life and potential motivation for allegedly setting bombs that killed three people and wounded more than 180.

Tsarnaev was captured in the Boston suburb of Watertown late on Friday, less than 24 hours after his 26-year-old brother and alleged accomplice Tamerlan was killed in a gunbattle with police.

Friends of Tsarnaev confirmed he was an active Twitter user, firing off messages under the handle @J_tsar.

"Ain't no love in the heart of the city, stay safe people," he tweeted at 20:04 on Monday, just hours after Boston was rocked by twin explosions that police say he set with his brother.

It was one of a dozen messages he posted on the microblogging site in the hours and days after the tragedy.

Number of followers soars

A tweet one week prior to the blasts may have offered cryptic hints at what was to come: "If you have the knowledge and the inspiration all that's left is to take action," @J_tsar tweeted on 8 April.

"Tat my name on you girl so i know it's real oh and make sure to spell it right, its spelled Dzhokhar," he posted on 5 May.

His followers soared to more than 58 000 in the hours after he was named a prime suspect.

His Twitter page is adorned with the emblem of the FC Anzhi Makhachkala soccer team, in the southern Russian region of Dagestan where, according to his uncle, Dzhokhar was born.

A perusal of the 1 099 tweets posted by @J_tsar portray an everyday kid with a wide variety of interests: sports, hip-hop lyrics, girls, Islam, TV shows like Breaking Bad and cars.

"I need me a tall beautiful woman, but just beautiful works too," he wrote last April.

Marathon tweet

On January 23, he sounded down on college life. "Back to terrible food, hot pockets and school bs."

Some friends who say they went to high school with him have posted their disbelief at how their classmate could be responsible for the worst terror attack on US soil since the 11 September 2001 suicide plane strikes.

"Yeah he went to rindge, he graduated with me and we had a few classes together," wrote longtime Twitter friend "Samantha", referring to their time at Cambridge Rindge and Latin School, in Massachusetts.

Dzhokhar had exchanged tweets with Samantha as far back as November 2011.

One message from August 2012, a response to a user who has since locked his tweets and made them unviewable, provides a jolt to those scrolling through Dzhokhar's account.

"Boston marathon isn't a good place to smoke tho," he wrote.

Hair-raising response

The final message on his account is a Wednesday retweet of a comment by Mufti Ismail Menk of Zimbabwe.

Menk later condemned the Boston attacks on his own Twitter feed, saying "the perpetrators must face justice".

One of Dzhokhar's post-bombing tweets was a hair-raising response to a fellow Twitter user.

"What 'god hates dead people?' Or victims of tragedies? Lol those people are cooked," Dzhokhar wrote.

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