Family: Wife of bombing suspect in shock, ‘cries a lot’
(CNN) — The widow of suspect Tamerlan Tsarnaev is “doing everything she can to assist with the investigation,” of the Boston Marathon bombing, attorney Amato DeLuca said in a statement Tuesday.
Katherine Russell last saw her husband Thursday, just hours before he died in a gun battle with police, according to a source close to the family. She was handing off her 2-year-old daughter to stay with him while she went to work, the source said.
The FBI wants to interview Russell about her husband, but for now, agents only have been able to talk to her lawyer.
“She knew nothing about it at any time,” DeLuca told CNN’s Chris Lawrence, referring to the bomb plot.
Russell, 24, learned through news reports that the father of her daughter was suspected in the attack, DeLuca said. “That’s my understanding.”
Hearing that news devastated her, he added, saying Monday that she’s “very distraught” and “cries a lot.”
“The reports of involvement by her husband and brother-in-law came as an absolute shock to them all,” DeLuca’s Tuesday statement said. “As a mother, a sister, a daughter, a wife, Katie deeply mourns the pain and loss to innocent victims — students, law enforcement, families and our community. In the aftermath of this tragedy, she, her daughter and her family are trying to come to terms with these events.”
“The whole family is a mess, to put it bluntly,” he said Monday. “They’re very distraught. They’re upset. Their lives have been unalterably changed. They’re upset because of what happened, the people that were injured, that were killed. It’s an awful, terrible thing.”
Russell was born and raised in suburban Providence, Rhode Island, a Christian who converted to Islam after marrying Tsarnaev. She’s an observant Muslim and wears a headscarf, her lawyer said.
Katie — that’s what family and friends call her — is staying now with her parents in North Kingstown, Rhode Island, but before last week she was living in Cambridge and working as a home health aide, he said. “She worked many, many hours.”
Her husband took care of their daughter each day while she was at work, her lawyer said.
“She would go off in the morning, she would work ’til late at night,” he said. “She called to see how her daughter was and that kind of stuff, like any person would.”
The Russell family hired DeLuca on Saturday, after federal agents contacted them asking to interview her, he said. For now, he is the one speaking to the FBI.
“She understands the need for doing it,” he said. “This is the way the government looks at it, and she understands this. It’s a threat to national security, and she gets that. And she’s a really good person, very sympathetic to that. Katie’s just trying to bring up her daughter.”
In the statement released Tuesday, DeLuca said Russell is very close to her family.
“She is fortunate to have the support of her loving family now, as they, too, struggle to come to terms with these events and the deep sorrow we all feel following the events of last week,” he said. “The injuries and loss of life — to people who came to celebrate a race and a holiday — has caused profound distress and sorrow to Katie and her family.”
The family released its own statement Friday, after learning Tsarnaev had died.
“Our daughter has lost her husband today, the father of her child,” the family said. “We cannot begin to comprehend how this horrible tragedy occurred. In the aftermath of the Patriots’ Day horror, we know that we never really knew Tamerlan Tsarnaev. Our hearts are sickened by the knowledge of the horror he has inflicted. Please respect our family’s privacy in this difficult time.”
CNN’s Rachel Streitfeld contributed to this report.