Sari Horwitz and Peter Finn of The Washington Post have more details regarding the FBI shooting of a former friend of Boston bombing suspect Tamerlan Tsarnaev, and they’re strange enough to raise eyebrows.
On May 21 an FBI agent, along with two Massachusetts State Police troopers and other law enforcement personnel, interviewed Ibragim Todashev about his connection to Tsarnaev.
Early the next morning, after hours of questioning at his apartment, the 27-year-old Chechen was shot dead.
Here are some of the odd circumstances surrounding the incident:
- An official told The Post that the other law enforcement officials had just stepped out of the room — leaving the FBI agent alone with Todashev — when the shooting occurred.
- Law enforcement officials said Todashev acknowledged involvement a triple murder in Waltham, Mass., on Sept. 11, 2011 and implicated Tsarnaev. But he had not yet signed a written statement based on the alleged confession when he died.
- Officials initially said Todashev had a knife while others suggested that he attempted to grab the FBI agent’s gun. However, a law enforcement official told the Post that Todashev was unarmed. Another said Todashev lunged at the agent and overturned a table.
- ABC News reports, citing sources, that there was a samurai sword in the room, “which may have accounted for some of the initial confusion over whether a weapon was involved.”
- The FBI agent suffered “some cuts and abrasions.” An official told The Wall Street Journal that the agent might have been cut by a piece of furniture in the scuffle.
Todashev, a martial arts fighter, met Tamerlan Tsarnaev in Boston before Todashev moving to Orlando. He was not suspected of involvement in the April 15 Boston bombings.
John Miller, a former FBI assistant director who is now a senior correspondent for CBS News, said police were questioning Todashev because he had been in contact with Tamerlan Tsarnaev prior to the bombings, had visited Tsarnaev in Boston, and had a ticket to fly to Russia this month to spend the summer in his native Chechnya.
“My son could never commit a crime,” Todashev’s father, who lives in Chechnya, told the Daily Beast last week. “He worked helping disabled people in America and did sports, coached other sportsmen. The FBI made up their accusations.”
Todashev’s family is calling for an independent investigation.
“We’re not accusing them (the FBI) of anything at this point,” Hassan Shibly, executive director of the Tampa, Florida branch of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, said. “There’s a lot of questions to be answered to make sure our law enforcement officers are abiding by the highest standards and rules as they conduct their investigations.”
The incident is not the only odd report regarding the Boston probe. Earlier this month Miller reported that 19-year-old bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev scribbled a confession on the wall of the boat police found him in.
The note, allegedly scrawled with a pen on the interior wall of the cabin, was reportedly riddled with bullet holes from shots fired into the boat by police before the unarmed Tsarnaev, 19, was taken into custody.
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