The uncle of Boston Marathon bombing suspect Tamerlan Tsarnaev arrived in Massachusetts on Sunday to arrange for his burial, saying he understands that “no one wants to associate their names with such evil events.”
Ruslan Tsarni, of Montgomery Village, Md., and three of his friends met with the Worcester funeral home director and prepared to wash and shroud Tsarnaev’s body according to Muslim tradition. The 26-year-old died after a gunbattle with police on April 19.
Funeral director Peter Stefan said he hasn’t been able to find a cemetery in Massachusetts willing to take the body. He said he plans to ask the city of Cambridge, where Tsarnaev lived, to provide a burial plot.
Tsarni told reporters that he is arranging for Tsarnaev’s burial because religion and tradition call for his nephew to be buried. He would like him to be buried in Massachusetts because he’s lived in the state for the last decade, he said.
Tsarnaev, who had appeared in surveillance photos wearing a black cap and was identified as Suspect No. 1, died days after the April 15 bombing, which killed three people and injured more than 260 others. His 19-year-old brother, Dzhokhar, was captured.
Stefan said he’s gotten calls from people calling him “un-American” for being willing to handle Tamerlan Tsarnaev’s funeral.
“We take an oath to do this. Can I pick and choose? No. Can I separate the sins from the sinners? No,” he said. “We are burying a dead body. That’s what we do.”
Tsarni has denounced the acts his nephews are accused of committing and has said they brought shame to the family and the entire Chechen ethnicity.
On Sunday, the FBI conducted a court-authorized search in Cambridge as part of its investigation into the bombings, said Jason Pack, supervisory special agent in the FBI’s press office.