A Boston track coach and his teenage student are denying their involvement in the deadly Boston Marathon bombings.
The men stepped forward to identify themselves after photos of them wearing backpacks went viral online Wednesday.
The Smoking Gun identified the men as Yassine Zaimi, a 24-year-old track coach and Salaheddin Barhoum, a 17-year-old high school runner who works at Subway and posted photos to Facebook of his trip Monday. They were on Boylston Street, they say, to watch the race.
Immediately after the terrorist attacks that left 3 people dead and scores injured, the FBI appealed to the public to send in photos and videos taken along the marathon route near the finish line.
Internet sleuths such as 4Chan and Reddit.com analyzed photos and videos and arrived at the same conclusion, that Zaimi and Barhoum were the likely suspects.
Apparently the FBI agreed and distributed photos of the men to news networks and local media. An FBI bulletin accompanying the photos emphasized that the men were being sought for identification purposes only.
Still, all the media glare on Barhoun worried his mother sick.
He told ABC News that he went to the police yesterday to clear his name. "It's the worst feeling that I can possibly feel… I'm only 17," Barhoun said after seeing his photo splashed on the front page of a newspaper.
His younger brother, who declined to give his name, said the false claims made his mother "sick and upset."
"It made her think he had done something wrong," the younger brother said. "My brother is not the bomber."
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Photos: Aaron "Tango" Tang, Facebook.com