NH student at bomber's school says classmate was 'just another kid'
LONDONDERRY — A Londonderry High School graduate now attending the University of Massachusetts at Dartmouth said Dzhokhar Tsarnaev blended in so well on the suburban campus that students considered him "just another kid" after viewing the photograph released by the FBI.
Tsarnaev was enrolled as a student at UMass Dartmouth, according to officials.
"It's surreal," said Nick Marquis, a senior and captain of the school hockey team. "All my friends are from that area, we go to Boston all the time, we couldn't believe it and then this comes out."
As the police dragnet for Tsarnaev in Massachusetts widened, classes were first canceled at UMass Dartmouth campus. A short time later the order was issued to evacuate.
"It was pretty crazy," Marquis said. "We got a call (Friday) morning, a regular call notifying us that classes were cancelled, then an email was posted that this kid was a registered student and the campus was evacuated."
Marquis, who lives in a house across the street from the campus, said students were scrambling to find rides after the evacuation order was issued.
Many who had cars gave up because of the resulting traffic jam on the one road leading off campus. Many students abandoned the effort and sought refuge with students, like Marquis, who lived in nearby apartments and houses.
Gradually, students began to congregate in the smattering of nearby off-campus apartments and houses.
"We were talking to kids on campus, they had nowhere to go; everyone was in a panic," Marquis said. "We have a lot of our friends that are staying with us here."
Students at the college were told that the Dartmouth High School had been opened up as a shelter for students who needed a place to stay and wait out the emergency.
As they waited, students sorted through what they heard from news sources and weighed it against the tales told on social media.
"We don't know what will happen next," Marquis said. "You hear all sorts of different stories, some people are nervous just because they haven't found him yet."
Tsarnaev lived in a sophomore dormitory, according to Marquis, and blended in so well that many students were trying to remember if they had ever seen him.
As one of the school's premier athletes, Marquis works out regularly in the school gymnasium. After hearing that Tsarnaev had reportedly worked out at the gym recently, Marquis looked at the FBI pictures of the bombing suspects, bit it brought him no recollection.
"I go to the gym every single day, I was trying to remember if I was ever in the gym with this kid," Marquis said. "But there is nothing about him that stands out."
Facing graduation in two weeks, Marquis had planned to attend the scheduled Friday night Red Sox game and then head for a planned visit home.
"I'm probably going to head back to New Hampshire soon," Marquis said Friday afternoon.
Student conversations at UMass Dartmouth center on Tsarnaev as students try to recall someone who was one of them, but whose secret life was so very different.
"You see those pictures on TV and just try to think yourself through, did I see him any where," Marquis said. "He looks like a lot of guys, one of those faces, just another kid."