Dzhokhar Tsarnaev talked to multiple college friends about the Boston Marathon attack just a day after he allegedly planted the explosive that killed three people and injured more than 170.
“Yeah, man tragedies can happen anywhere in the world. It’s too bad,” Dzhokhar Tsarnaev told one friend at the gym on the campus of the University of Massachusetts at Dartmouth, according to CNN.
The student, who was not named, told CNN that 19-year-old Dzhokhar Tsarnaev seemed “tired” but otherwise “fine”.
Another student reported similar behavior from the suspect.
Fellow Dartmouth student Andrew Glasby said that Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, who is suspected of assisting his older brother Tamerlan in the destructive act, lived one floor above him at the campus’s Pine Dale dormitory.
Andrew Glasby said he spoke with Dzhokhar Tsarnaev on the campus 24 hours after the marathon explosions became a national terror and was surprised by Tsarneav’s calmness in hindsight.
“I can’t believe he had the balls to come back and act like nothing happened,” Andrew Glasby said.
Sophomore Zach Bettencourt recalled Dzhokhar Tsarnaev telling him on Tuesday evening: “It’s crazy this is happening now. This is so easy to do. These tragedies happen all the time in Afghanistan and Iraq.”
As pictures of the suspects, released by the FBI, flashed onto a television screen being watched by a group of students at Dzhokhar Tsarnaev’s dorm, Pine Dale Hall, Zach Bettencourt said he and friends were stunned to realize one of the wanted men might be Tsarnaev.
“’We all thought it looked like him,” said Zach Bettencourt, 20, of Gloucester, Massachusetts.
“We didn’t believe it was him.”
The group of students wondered aloud if they should walk downstairs and knock on Dzhokhar Tsarnaev’s dorm room door.
“What if he had a gun?” Zach Bettencourt said.
A school spokesman declined to say whether at that point on Thursday Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was still on campus, about 60 miles south of Boston.
Just as disturbing, said Zach Bettencourt, was the casual way Dzhokhar Tsarnaev chatted about the bombings during his gym workout.
“I don’t know how he talked about it. I don’t know what was going on in his head,” Zach Bettencourt said.
“I was driving here and thinking <<Wow, he actually did it>>.”
The unnamed student who spoke to ABC said that Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, who was often referred to as Jahar, said blended right back into normal college life and was “convinced” that nothing was off about him.
“I thought as it was just regular old Jahar. We had a typical conversation, he was not startled, he was not scared, he was not anything. He was just the same old Jahar,” he said.
Andrew Glasby said that Dzhokhar Tsarnaev had even offered to give him a ride home to Waltham, Massachusetts, on Friday.
But instead, Andrew Glasby spent Friday evacuating the campus, which is about an hour’s drive south of Boston.
A blaring university fire alarm woke Andrew Glasby that morning at around 10 a.m. as Blackhawk helicopters circled overhead, according to ABC.
“I didn’t have time to grab my wallet or my phone. I only had time to grab my sweatpants and my sneakers,” Andrew Glasby said.
“UMass Dartmouth has learned that a person being sought in connection with the Boston Marathon bombing has been identified as a student registered at UMass Dartmouth. The campus is closed. Individuals on campus should shelter in place unless instructed otherwise,” the university wrote on its website.
Andrew Glasby described Dzhokhar Tsarnaev as a regular student who played soccer, enjoyed FIFA soccer video games and frequently smoked marijuana until this year.
“The word that I’ve heard everybody use is <<surreal>>,” said a college official helping students settle back onto the leafy campus of 9,400 students.
“It’s one of those things where you see people committing an alleged crime on stage with cameras from around the world focused on them and a lot of the students just can’t believe their eyes,” the official said.
Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was apprehended by local authorities and rushed to the hospital in a serious condition at 8:43 pm on Friday evening after an ongoing gun battle with police and SWAT teams in Watertown.
Two days prior, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev partied with college friends on Wednesday night and was said to “look relaxed”.
Hours before the deadly shootout which claimed his brother Tamerlan’s life, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was seen on a night out on campus.