"I was the only person who really hung out with him in high school," he said. "He stayed away from a lot of the white kids because he didn't have any sort of connection with them."

Tamerlan Tsarnaev was very quiet and serious. Getting a conversation going with him took some work, Mijares said. He was also protective of his sister and looked out for anyone in his family. His family was important to him, Mijares said.

Judith Russell of Rhode Island told the Providence Journal that Tamerlan Tsarnaev was married to her daughter, Katherine Russell, 24. She issued a statement:

"Our daughter has lost her husband today, the father of her child. We cannot begin to comprehend how this horrible tragedy occurred. In the aftermath of the Patriot's Day horror, we know that we never really knew Tamerlan Tsarnaev. Our hearts are sickened by the knowledge by the horror he has inflicted. Please respect our family's privacy in this difficult time."

Mijares said that after Tamerlan graduated from high school, they occasionally bumped into each other around town or at Dzhokhar's soccer games. Tamerlan was very proud of his little brother and would say that Dzhokhar had a lot of promise, said Mijares.

Dzhokhar was more talkative than his older brother, Mijares said.

"He was really nice. He listened very well. I never heard him complain. He was very athletic," he said.

A USA boxing official said that Tamerlan Tsarnaev was a registered amateur boxer with a club in Somerville in 2003 and 2004 and again in 2008.

In 2009 and 2010, he fought with the South Boston Boxing Club. He fought for the national Golden Gloves heavyweight championship in Salt Lake City in 2009.

Tsarnaev advanced to the Golden Gloves national championship tournament in 2009 by outfighting Connecticut heavyweight Darnell Humphreys of Waterbury.

Humphreys' coach, F. Mac Buckley, remembers Tsarnaev as a handsome young man who was enrolled in college at the time.

Tsarnaev was fighting for the Lowell team and Buckley said there were many watching the fight, which took place at a Lowell venue, who believed that Humphreys beat Tamerlan but lost the fight on a bad decision by the judges.

Afterward, Buckley said that Tamerlan commiserated with Humphreys outside the hotel where the fight took place.

"I talked to him," Buckley said. "He was a nice kid. He had the accent and stuff, but he spoke fine. He was a good-looking kid."

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, the younger brother, graduated from Cambridge Rindge & Latin School in 2011. He received a $2,500 scholarship from the city of Cambridge to be used toward higher education.

He was a wrestler and was honored as the student athlete of the month in February 2011.

Three high school friends of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, wearing shirts and jackets from the wrestling team, showed up at a throng of media members outside a Tsarnaev family apartment on Cambridge Street on Friday afternoon.

John Casanova, Sanjaya Lamichhane and Peter Tenzin wanted to talk about a side of their friend that's different from what appears in news reports. The apartment and entire neighborhood had been sealed-off by police.

Casanova remembered Tsarnaev as someone who was "outgoing and talked to everybody." He was a "good athlete, good student." He said that once, when asked about his life back in Russia, Tsarnaev said, "I don't want to talk about the past. I just want to live my life and go to school here."

Lamichhane, who graduated in 2010, was Tsarnaev's wrestling partner.