HS runner Salaheddin Barhoum, coach Yassine Zaimi may have been falsely fingered as Boston Marathon bombing suspects
Prior to about 5:00 p.m. EST on Thursday afternoon, the FBI had not released any photos of potential suspects or persons of interest connected to Monday’s Boston Marathon bombing. That did not stop photos of various people who were fingered as “potential suspects” by the public from circulating the internet.
Two of those people, whom you see above, were 17-year-old Revere (Mass.) High School student Salaheddin Barhoum and track coach Yassine Zaimi. Photos of Barhoum and Zaimi standing and watching the race on Monday have appeared everywhere from social media sites like Twitter and Reddit to the NY Post, which ran a story that labeled them “Bag Men.” The Post later stood by their decision to run the photo of the men and claimed authorities had distributed the photos to try to identify them but later cleared them.
As The Smoking Gun pointed out, CNN’s Deborah Feyerick described the clothing Barhoum and Zaimi were wearing in an update on Wednesday night and claimed the pair had “risen to the top of the list” of probers. CNN did not show the image of the high school runner and track coach. On Thursday afternoon, CNN’s Erin Burnett reported that investigators had been alerted of the photo of Barhoum and Zaimi because the bags they were carrying looked heavy and “bigger than they should be.”
When he apparently became aware that a photo of him was circulating the internet and labeling him as a possible suspect in the Boston Marathon bombing, Barhoum sent out a message on his Facebook page in an attempt to clear his name.
“Going to the court right now!!” he wrote. “S*** is real. But you will see guys (I) did not do anything.”
Photos on Barhoum’s Facebook page included one of the three top women runners in the Marathon dueling for the lead. The caption read, “Boston marathon 117th) Kenya and Ethiopia had a lot of fun lmfao – with Yassine Zaimi.”
TSG also pointed out that Zaimi’s Facebook page is packed with tourist-type photos of him making his way around Boston.
On Thursday afternoon, FBI agent Richard DesLauriers unveiled a series of photos and a video clip of the two suspects currently connected to the bombing. Based on their clothing, it appeared clear that neither suspect was Barhoum or Zaimi. The photos and video of the suspect can be seen on the FBI’s website here. DesLauriers stressed that the photos and video the FBI unveiled on Thursday are the only ones people should be focusing on at this time and that photos of other people the internet has taken the liberty of labeling as “suspects” will impede with the process of finding the right men.