A Chechen friend of Tamerlan Tsarnaev was killed after becoming enraged over questioning about his possible role in the murder of two Jewish men in 2011.
Ibragim Todashev was shot numerous times early Wednesday morning in his home in Orlando, Fla., after attacking an F.B.I. special agent with a knife, according to local law enforcement officials. The agent and two Massachusetts state troopers had come to question Todashev about his ties to Tamerlan Tsarnaev, the deceased suspect in last April’s Boston Marathon bombings. Tsarnaev is currently being investigated for his possible involvement in the triple murder of Erik Weissman, Rafael Teken, and Brendan Mess, who was Tsarnaev’s close friend.
A law enforcement official told the New York Times on Wednesday that, “The investigators were working on the theory that [Todashev] and Tamerlan had done the murder.”
Authorities had been in contact with Todashev twice a week since the bombing. The F.B.I. agent involved in Wednesday’s altercation suffered minor wounds.
The International Business Times reported that Todashev had confessed to a role in the triple murder, which took place in the Boston suburb of Waltham, Mass.
John Miller, a former FBI assistant director, told “CBS This Morning” that others living in Todashev’s apartment complex had been interviewed. Miller also said that Todashev had visited Tamerlan in Boston and was recently planning a trip to Chechnya. The F.B.I. visit was spurred by rumors that Todashev had canceled the trip.
The FBI said in a statement that a special agent, “acting on the imminent threat posed by the individual, responded with deadly force. The individual was killed and the special agent was transported to the hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.”
It said the shooting occurred in Orlando, Florida, while the special agent and other law enforcement agents, including two Massachusetts State Police officers, were interviewing the man about the blasts that killed three people and injured 264 others at the finish line of the Boston Marathon.
“A violent confrontation was initiated by the individual,” the FBI said, without providing further details.
Todashev’s friend, Khusn Taramiv, said Todashev knew bombing suspect Tamerlan Tsarnaev because both were mixed martial-arts fighters but had no connection to the bombing.
“Back when he used to live in Boston, right, they used to hang out,” Taramiv told Central Florida News 13. “He met them few times ‘cause he was MMA fighter the other guy was boxer, right. They just knew each other, that’s it.”