BOSTON -- The Boston area held funerals for two more of its dead Tuesday -- including an 8-year-old boy -- as evidence mounted that the older Tsarnaev brother had embraced a radical, anti-American strain of Islam and was the driving force behind the Boston Marathon bombing.
Younger brother Dzhokhar Tsarnaev's condition was upgraded from serious to fair as investigators continued building their case against the 19-year-old college student. He could face the death penalty after being charged Monday with joining forces with his brother, now dead, in setting off the shrapnel-packed pressure-cooker bombs that killed three people.
In Washington, Sen. Richard Burr, R-N.C., an Intelligence Committee member, said after his panel was briefed by federal law enforcement officials that there is "no question" that Tamerlan Tsarnaev, 26, was "the dominant force" behind the attacks, and that the brothers had apparently been radicalized by material on the Internet, rather than by contact with militant groups overseas.
Martin Richard, a schoolboy from Boston's Dorchester neighborhood who was the youngest of those killed in the April 15 blasts at the marathon finish line, was laid to rest after a family-only funeral Mass. "The outpouring of love and support over the last week has been tremendous," the family said in a statement. "This has been the most difficult week of our lives."
A funeral was also held for Sean Collier, 26, a Massachusetts Institute of Technology police officer who authorities said was shot to death by the Tsarnaev brothers three days after the bombing. A memorial service for Officer Collier was scheduled for today at MIT, with Vice President Joe Biden expected to attend.
More than 260 people were injured by the bomb blasts. About 50 were still hospitalized.
Authorities believe that neither brother had links to terror groups. But two U.S. officials said Tuesday that Tamerlan Tsarnaev -- who died last week in a gunbattle -- frequently looked at extremist websites, including Inspire magazine, an English-language online publication produced by al-Qaida's Yemen affiliate. The magazine has endorsed lone-wolf terror attacks. Both officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the investigation publicly.
On Capitol Hill, Senate Intelligence Committee members were briefed by the FBI and other law enforcement officials at a closed-door session Tuesday evening. Afterward, Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., described the two brothers as "a couple of individuals who become radicalized using Internet sources." Mr. Rubio added, "So we need to be prepared for Boston-type attacks, not just 9/11-style attacks," referring to lone-wolf terrorists as opposed to well-organized teams from established terror networks.
Sen. Saxby Chambliss, R-Ga., said law enforcement officials have gotten "minimal" information from Dzhokhar Tsarnaev and are still looking into whether the brothers had training or coaching from a foreign group.
The brothers' parents live in Dagestan, a predominantly Muslim province in Russia's Caucasus, where Islamic militants have waged an insurgency against Russian security forces for years. Family members interviewed by reporters in the United States and abroad said Tamerlan was steered toward a strict strain of Islam under the influence of a Muslim convert known to the Tsarnaev family only as Misha. After befriending Misha, Tamerlan gave up boxing, stopped studying music and began opposing the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, according to family members, who said he turned to websites and literature claiming that the CIA was behind the 9/11 terror attacks.
"Somehow, he just took his brain," said Tamerlan's uncle, Ruslan Tsarni of Montgomery Village, Md., who recalled conversations with Tamerlan's worried father about Misha's influence.
"You could always hear his younger brother and sisters say, 'Tamerlan said this,' and 'Tamerlan said that.' Dzhokhar loved him. He would do whatever Tamerlan would say," recalled Elmirza Khozhugov, the ex-husband of Tamerlan's sister. He spoke by phone from his home in Almaty, Kazakhstan.
The brothers, who came to the United States from Russia a decade ago, were raised in a home that followed Sunni Islam, the religion's largest sect, but were not regulars at the mosque and rarely discussed religion, Mr. Khozhugov said.
Then, in 2008 or 2009, Tamerlan met Misha, a heavyset bald man with a reddish beard. Mr. Khozhugov didn't know where they had met, but believed that they had attended a Boston-area mosque together.
Hoping to learn more about the Tsarnaev brothers' motives, U.S. investigators traveled Tuesday to southern Russia to speak with their parents, a U.S. Embassy official said. A lawyer for the family, Zaurbek Sadakhanov, said the parents had just seen pictures of the mutilated body of their elder son and were not up to speaking with anyone.
In Massachusetts, the state House turned aside a bid by several lawmakers to reinstate the death penalty in certain cases, including the murder of police officers. In a 119-38 vote, the House sent the proposal to a study committee, rather than advance it to an up-or-down vote.
In another development, April Walton, manager of Phantom Fireworks of Seabrook, N.H., said Tamerlan Tsarnaev bought 48 mortar shells at the store in February. Company Vice President William Weimer said FBI agents visited the store Friday, interviewed staff and checked its computers. He said the amount of gunpowder that could be extracted from the fireworks would not have been enough for the Boston bombs.
The Watertown man who found Dzhokhar Tsarnaev hiding in his backyard boat was glad to be able to help and feels lucky to be alive, he said Tuesday in an interview aired on Boston's WCVB-TV. "If I help these people that lost people, if I can help them in their mind, then everything is good with me here," David Henneberry said.
Mr. Henneberry said he went outside to get some air and check his boat Friday evening after police lifted a shelter-in-place order following an intense daylong manhunt for Dzhokhar after the shootout Friday morning. Mr. Henneberry said he did not see any blood on the boat's exterior but had noticed that two bumper pads he placed between his boat and its shrink wrap cover had fallen to the ground. He thought perhaps the wind had caused it. When he first went to check, he found a loose strap and went back in his house. But he decided to take another look from a ladder.
"I got three steps up the ladder and rolled the shrink wrap. I didn't expect to see anything, but I saw blood on the floor of the boat. A good amount of blood," he told WCVB. He said he then noticed a motionless body. "He was just lying there by the engine block and the floor. I couldn't see his face. I'm glad I didn't see his face," Mr. Henneberry said. The man in the boat still didn't move.