Tamerlan Tsarnaev was haunted by voices in his head and paranoid that someone had used a mind control technique to bring out an “alternative personality,” a new report about the suspected Boston Marathon bomber found.
Tsarnaev is believed to have worked with his brother Dzhokhar in an attack on the marathon, using two bombs that left three people dead and dozens injured. The bombs exploded near the finish line of the marathon at close to 3 pm on April 15, 2013.
Tamerlan and Dzhokhar initially escaped into the crowd, but emerged four days later for a second attack, killing an MIT police officer before leading police in a rolling gun battle that left Tamerlan Tsarnaev dead.
In a five-month investigation that spoke to people who knew the Tsarnaevs closely, the Boston Globe found that Tamerlan was paranoid that someone had taken control of his mind.
“He believed in majestic mind control, which is a way of breaking down a person and creating an alternative personality with which they must coexist,” Donald Larking, a 67-year-old who attended a Boston mosque with Tamerlan, told the Globe. “You can give a signal, a phrase or a gesture, and bring out the alternate personality and make them do things. Tamerlan thought someone might have done that to him.”
Tamerlan reportedly told his mother that he felt like “there were two people living inside him,” but she refused the advice of one of his friends to seek help.
“Tamerlan had some form of schizophrenia,” a family friend speculated. “That, combined with smoking marijuana and head trauma from boxing had all made him ill.”
Though it was initially suspected that Tamerlan Tsarnaev led his brother in organizing the attack, the Globe’s report found that two brothers were equals in planning. The motive for the attack — initially painted as Tamerlan gradually turning to Islamic radicals he met during a 2012 visit to Kyrgyzstan — was actually found to stem from “the turbulent collapse of their family and their escalating personal and collective failures.”
Since his death, Tamerlan Tsarnaev has also been implicated in a triple homicide from 2011.