(NEW YORK) — The father of suspected Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev called on his son Friday to give up peacefully, but warned the U.S. that if his son is killed “all hell will break loose.”
Anzor Tsarnaev spoke to ABC News from his home in the Russian city of Makhachkala as Boston police carried out an intense dragnet for his son.
Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, 19, survived a running gun battle with police during the night that left an MIT security officer dead and a Boston cop badly wounded. His older brother died in the shootout.
The father said he spoke to his sons by phone earlier this week.
“We talked about the bombing. I was worried about them,” Anzor Tsarnaev said.
He said his sons reassured him, saying, “Everything is good, Daddy. Everything is very good.”
The elder Tsarnaev insisted that his sons were innocent, but said he would appeal to his son to “surrender peacefully.”
“Give up. Give up. You have a bright future ahead of you. Come home to Russia,” the dad said.
The father warned, however, “If they killed him, then all hell would break loose.”
Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, who is now described as willing to die in a battle with police, was more known for taking acting classes, advanced placement courses and being a star athlete with lots of friends in high school.
“He never seemed out of the ordinary at all,” high school classmate Sierra Schwartz told ABC’s Good Morning America on Friday. “This is not someone who seemed troubled in high school or shy. He was just one of us. It’s very weird.”
Steven Owens told ABC News, “I met him when I was in seventh grade and he was just a great kid. He was fun to be around. Very studious, very smart. I don’t remember a time when he was ever having trouble in school. He was a great athlete. Great to be around.”
Owens said Dzhokhar Tsarnaev “always had a positive attitude,” but had expressed some political opinions in school.
“He always thought the war [Iraq, Afghanistan] was stupid,” Owens said. “He didn’t enjoy the idea of war. We didn’t really talk about it much. The only time it ever really came up was when we were learning about it in school.”
When Owens first saw authorities’ photos of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, he wasn’t positive it was him since he hadn’t seen him in a few years.
“I started looking through my yearbook because I thought I recognized him and there he was,” Owens said. “I was just so surprised.”
The search for Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, of Cambridge, Mass., has effectively shut down Boston and its surrounding cities on Friday, including Watertown, Mass., where his brother was killed in an overnight shootout.
Boston is on lockdown and police are engaged in a large operation in Watertown.
Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio
Sara Ganim and Eric Levenson, CNN
Frank Pallotta, CNN
Tal Kopan, CNN
Andreas Preuss, CNN