Two sisters of the Boston bombing suspects Dzhokhar and Tamerlan Tsarnaev have been identified as West New York residents Bella Tsarnaeva (spelled with an "a") and 22-year-old Ailina Tsarnaev. The latter is reportedly cooperating with the police and has expressed shock and sorrow over her brothers' actions.
Ailina Tsarnaev spoke to reporters through a narrowly cracked front door Friday, saying her brothers were "loving" and that she never "expected" them to carry out such an act. She then expressed her condolences to the victims of the Boston attacks.
“I’m sorry for all the people who are hurt and for all the people who lost their lives,” she said.
"They were great people. I never would have expected it," said Ailina, of the suspects in Monday's bombing. "They are smart – I don’t know what’s gotten into them."
She then asked that everyone "leave them alone" as the events are "painful."
When a member of the media asked if she was "okay," Ailina responded:
"No I’m not okay – no one is okay right now... I’m hurt for everyone who has been hurt. I’m sorry for all the people who are hurt and for all the people who lost their lives."
"I'm pretty sure my father is hurt," she added when asked about his reaction.
Ailina Tsarnaev said she has not had contact with either of her brothers in years. Her husband, who also appeared to speak to reporters, said he has never met his wife’s family as they do not approve of the fact that he is not a Muslim.
Federal investigators are still questioning Ailina Tsarnaev, according to Michael E. Indri, director of police in West New York.
West New York Police Commissioner Caridad Rodriguez, meanwhile, has sealed off the neighborhood where Ailina Tsarnaev lives in the event Dzhokhar turns up there.
“This is all new for us,” Rodriguez said. “It’s a scary day in West New York.”
Earlier on Friday, agents from the FBI Joint Terrorism task force wearing body armor entered Ailina's building after reportedly knocking on the door multiple times.
As for Bella, accounts are less than flattering.
According to NorthJersey.com, a former landlord, Alex Malyava, said he had rented an apartment to two sisters early last year but that they moved out in January after late rent payments and complaints about constant noise and fighting were lodged by neighbors and the property manager, Melody Realty.
Court records with the Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office reveal that a civil forfeiture case was filed in March against Bella Tsarnaeva and her boyfriend, Ahmad Khalil. According to the filing, Fairview police went to the residence on Dec. 11 to follow up on a domestic violence report claiming Bella had scratched Khalil.
NJ reports that while inside the apartment, police said they smelled marijuana, and found drug paraphernalia and $537 in cash in a clear plastic bag. Ailina Tsarnaeva reportedly admitted to slapping Khalil, and was, according to court records, subsequently arrested for domestic violence and simple assault. Khalil, meanwhile was arrested for possession of a "large amount" of marijuana.
For an entire overview of other family members related to the Tsarnaev brothers, please visit our family-summary post here.