Tamerlan Tsar­naev, who died last week at age 26 in a shootout with police, and his 19-​​year-​​old sib­ling Dzhokhar are hardly the first brothers involved in crim­inal acts. Three pairs of brothers were among the 9/​11 ter­ror­ists, for example, and three brothers were con­victed in 2008 for plan­ning to attack sol­diers at Fort Dix in New Jersey.

There are a lot of crim­inal enter­prises where you have brothers involved,” said James Alan Fox, a crim­i­nol­o­gist at North­eastern Uni­ver­sity in Boston. “It is almost always the older brother who is the leader. … Typ­i­cally the younger brother looks up to the older brother in many ways.”

Friends and rel­a­tives paint markedly dif­ferent pic­tures of the Tsar­naev pair. Tamerlan could be argu­men­ta­tive and sullen, saying at one point he hadn’t made a single Amer­ican friend since immi­grating years ear­lier, and he was arrested in 2009 for assault and bat­tery on a girl­friend before those charges were dis­missed. Dzhokhar appears to have been well-​​adjusted and well-​​liked in both high school and college.

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