Meet The Two Immigrant Runners Wrongly Fingered As "Possible Suspects" In The Boston Marathon Bombing
The two men described as “possible suspects” in the Boston Marathon bombing are actually a 24-year-old track coach and a teenage high school runner who works at Subway and posted photos to Facebook of his trip Monday to watch the race.
Yassine Zaimi and student Salaheddin Barhoum, 17, had their photos published today on the front page of the New York Post, which described them as “Bag Men” whose identity was being sought by investigators probing the deadly terror attack.
As seen below, the Post photo, which includes red circles around Zaimi and Barhoum, is slugged “suspect--525x415.jpg.” Barhoum is pictured wearing a blue Adidas warmup jacket, while Zaimi is seen in a white baseball cap.
Several photos of Zaimi and Barhoum watching the race from near the Copley Square finish line have been widely circulated online by amateur sleuths attempting to determine who might have been responsible for detonating the pressure cooker bombs.
In a CNN update last night, correspondent Deborah Feyerick reported that investigators were looking at two “possible suspects” who had initially been considered “men of interest.” However, Feyerick added, the pair had subsequently “risen to the top of the list” of probers. While not showing photos of the two purported suspects, Feyerick gave detailed descriptions of the pair’s clothing and the bags they carried.
Feyerick was describing Zaimi and Barhoum, though she, like the Post, clearly did not know the identities of her purported suspects.
CNN anchor Erin Burnett reported this afternoon that investigators alerted to photos of the two spectators because “perhaps” the bags they carried “were bigger than they should be.” Large enough, presumably, to fit six-liter pressure cookers. Burnett also reported that photos of the duo "hovering" near the finish line were not being disseminated by federal agents due to fear that such a release “could impede the investigation.”
Barhoum, a Moroccan immigrant who attends Revere High School outside Boston, apparently became aware yesterday that his photo was being linked to the bomb plot. In a Facebook post he assured his 1776 friends that “u will see guys I’m did not do anything.” Noting that “Shit is real,” Barhoum reported that he was going “to the court rightnow,” adding later that, “I’m just going to tell them that it was not me.”
Barhoum’s Facebook page includes two photos snapped at the marathon. One image depicts the teen--who runs for his school and the Momentum Athletic Club--posing in front of a scrim with the race logo, while the other shows a large TV screen erected on the corner of Boylston and Exeter streets, a block from the finish line. The caption of the second photo, which was taken as three top women runners dueled for the lead, reads, “Boston marathon 117th) Kenya and Ethiopia had a lot of fun lmfao – with Yassine Zaimi.” The winner of the women's race was Kenyan Rita Jeptoo, while Ethiopian Lelisa Desisa Benti was the fastest male runner.
A third Facebook photo, posted March 24, shows Barhoum “Bored at work” at a Subway restaurant.
Zaimi, a Boston resident, is a Moroccan immigrant who also attended Revere High School. In Facebook posts, Barhoum refers to Zaimi as his “coach.”
According to Zaimi’s Facebook page, he has worked at State Street Bank & Trust and JPMorgan Chase. Additionally, Zaimi’s Facebook page is stocked with tourist-type photos of him posing around Boston. The shots include Zaimi wearing a colonial tri-corner hat, standing in front of a Samuel Adams statue at Faneuil Hall, and resting his elbow on a statue of late Boston Celtics legend Red Auerbach.
In April 2010, Zaimi won a five-kilometer charity race in suburban Boston that raised funds to send medical equipment to Morocco.
In a post to a web site that aids the recruitment of college athletes, Barhoum wrote of his devotion to running. “I been doing this since I was 12 years and I enjoy it… I feel great when I run with clubs more than when I run with school because clubs take it serious and the coaches have more techniques to teach.” The teenager, who graduates in 2015, added, “My dream is to get to the level where everybody who works hard deserve .and I want to say thank you to the people who supported me in this.”