Man with ties to Boston bombing suspect shot during FBI questioning
By Richard Esposito, Pete Williams and Matthew DeLuca, NBC News
ORLANDO (NBC) -- A man with ties to the Boston Marathon bombing suspect Tamerlan Tsarnaev was shot and killed by an FBI agent while being questioned in Florida, law enforcement officials said on Wednesday.
The man who was shot, Ibragim Todashev, 27, allegedly attacked an agent with a knife during questioning. He was not suspected of having played any role in the bombing that killed three people and injured scores more in April, but he did confess to being involved in a brutal Boston-area slaying two years ago.
Instead, law enforcement officials said Todashev was being questioned as part of the FBI's effort to find and talk to anyone who had any contact with Tsarnaev, the older bombing suspect.
Todashev, they say, had spent some time in the Boston area, where he was a mixed martial arts fighter, and knew Tsarnaev there. Investigators say he confessed to the agent in Florida that he played a role in a triple murder in 2011 in which three men were murdered in an apartment in Waltham, MA.
Their throats had been cut, and their bodies were covered with marijuana. No suspects had been arrested in that case.
Officials say FBI agents were questioning Todashev on Tuesday. He was cooperative at first, they say, but late Tuesday night, he attacked the agent with a knife, who shot and killed him. Officials say Todashev became violent as he was about to sign a written statement based on his confession.
The officials say Todashev had some connections with radical Chechen rebels, but they say it's not clear whether he had any role in radicalizing Tsarnaev.
"We are currently responding to a shooting incident involving an FBI special agent," FBI Special Agent Dave Couvertier said in a statement to NBC News.
"The incident occurred in Orlando, Florida. The agent encountered the suspect while conducting official duties," Couvertier said. "We do not have any further details at this time. We expect to have more information later this morning."
Todashev was arrested for aggravated battery on May 4, 2013 after getting into a fight over a parking spot with another man at Premium Outlets in Orlando, according to an Orange County Sheriff's Office arrest affidavit.
Todashev said that he pushed the other man after he "got into his face," according to the affidavit. The man's son then "came at him swinging," Todashev told police. The 5'9", 160-pound Todashev admitted to police that he was a former mixed martial arts fighter, according to the arrest affidavit.
"This skill puts his fighting ability way above that of a normal person," the arresting officer wrote in the affidavit.
Todashev was transported to the booking and release center without incident, according to the affidavit. He was released May 5 on a $3,500 surety bond, according to the Orange County Corrections Department.
A spokesman for the Orlando Police Department referred all questions regarding the shooting to the FBI.
An FBI incident review team was dispatched from Washington, D.C., and was expected to arrive in Orlando within 24 hours, Couvertier said on Wednesday morning.