A man said to have Chechnya links was shot dead by law enforcement officers while being questioned in connection with the April 15 Boston Marathon bombing, the FBI has confirmed.
Ibragim Todashev (27), who apparently knew Chechen-origin bombing suspect Tamerlan Tsarnaev, was being interrogated by an FBI special agent, two Massachusetts State Police troopers, and other law enforcement personnel when “a violent confrontation was initiated by [Todashev]”, during which he was killed.
An FBI spokesman, Paul Bresson, was quoted saying in a statement that an FBI agent shot Mr. Todashev because of an “imminent threat”. The FBI agent suffered non-life threatening injuries, the agency said.
The FBI said the shooting took place in an apartment in Orlando, Florida. Khusen Taramov, a friend of Mr. Todashev, told local TV station WESH-TV that authorities questioned him and Mr. Todashev about ties to Tamerlan Tsarnaev.
Tamerlan was killed after a shootout in a Boston suburb. His brother Dzhokhar (19) was captured after a massive manhunt and charged in relation to the bombing. The bombing, the first major terror attack on U.S. soil since September 11, 2001, killed three and injured more than 260.
Mr. Taramov said Mr. Todashev had last spoken to Tamerlan “about a month ago”, and had recently cancelled plans for a trip “back to Chechnya, his homeland”.
While Mr. Taramov denied that his friend was involved in the bombing, he appeared to have had a foreboding of the FBI interrogation. “Me and him and my friends, we knew this was going to happen. That’s why he wanted to leave the country,” Mr. Taramov said.
He added that Mr. Todashev had, however, cancelled his tickets as he believed that the FBI did not want him to leave the country. Mr. Taramov also said that he believed that since it was revealed that the Boston suspects were from Chechnya he and Mr. Todashev were under FBI surveillance.
He further said the FBI had questioned both him and Mr. Todashev and though he was released, the authorities indicated they needed to question Mr. Todashev further. “I left, and they told me they’re going to bring him back. They never brought him back”, Mr. Taramov said, adding that he “felt inside [Todashev] was going to get shot” by the FBI.
Mr. Taramov also said that Mr. Todashev used to live in Boston and knew Tamerlan through the world of mixed martial arts. A Google search revealed YouTube videos of Mr. Todashev participating in wrestling competitions. The Associated Press reported that Mr. Todashev was arrested earlier this month on suspicion of assault, after a dispute over a parking spot at an Orlando shopping centre.