An unidentified FBI agent shot and killed a man in Orlando, Fla., early Wednesday after questioning him about his link to one of the Boston Marathon bombing suspects.
Dave Couvertier, a special agent and spokesman for the FBI's Tampa field office, told Yahoo News the shooting is under investigation. He identified the man as Ibragim Todashev, a 27-year-old Chechen-born Orlando resident and apparent acquaintance of Tamerlan Tsarnaev, one of the brothers suspected of planning and carrying out the terror attack at last month's Boston Marathon.
Law enforcement officials told the Associated Press that Todashev lunged at the FBI agent with a knife.
The shooting occurred just after midnight at an apartment complex in Orlando. The agent, along with two Massachusetts State Police troopers and other law enforcement personnel, were interviewing Todashev "in connection with the Boston Marathon bombing investigation when a violent confrontation was initiated by the individual," Couvertier said. "An FBI post-shooting incident review team has been dispatched from Washington, D.C., and expected to arrive in Orlando within 24 hours."
The agent, Couvertier added, "sustained non-life-threatening injuries."
Khusen Taramov, a friend of Todashev, told local television reporters in Orlando that he and Todashev were interviewed by the FBI for about three hours on Tuesday.
"They were talking to us," Taramov told WESH-TV. "And they said they need him for a little more, for a couple more hours, and I left, and they told me they’re going to bring him back. They never brought him back. ... He felt inside he was going to get shot. I told him, 'Everything is going to be fine, don't worry about it.' He said, 'I have a really bad feeling.'"
According to NBC News, Todashev was not suspected of having a role in the Boston bombings, but confessed to investigators "he played a role" in an unsolved, grisly triple murder case in which three men were discovered in an apartment in Waltham, Mass., their throats cut and bodies covered in marijuana. Todashev was about to sign a confession related to those slayings when the confrontation occurred.
Earlier this month, law enforcement officials told ABC News that there was "mounting" forensic evidence linking Tsarnaev to the Waltham murders.
Taramov said Todashev met Tsarnaev in Boston while competing in mixed martial arts.
"They met a few times because [Todashev] was an MMA fighter and [Tsarnaev] was a boxer," Taramov told WKMG-TV. "They just knew each other. That’s it."
Taramov also said that Todashev had planned to travel back to Chechnya. "He had a [plane] ticket to New York," Taramov said. "From there, he was going to go home. [The FBI was] pushing him to stay, saying, ‘We want to interview you one last time.'"
According to the Orlando Sun Sentinel, Todashev was arrested earlier this month on aggravated assault charges:
In that incident, Todashev told deputies he got in a fight with a man over a parking space at the Orlando Premium Outlet mall and "was only fighting to protect his knee because he had surgery in March," according to the arrest report.
The Sheriff's office report says that two men were fighting and one—later identified as Todashev—was leaving the scene in a vehicle, while the other was on the ground, appeared unconscious, and surrounded by "a considerable amount of blood."
Deputies pursued Todashev, pulled him over and ordered him out of his car at gunpoint, according to the report. The victim, who had a split upper lip and "several teeth knocked out of place," did not want to press charges, according to the report.
Four days after the bombings, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, 26, was killed in a late-night shootout with police in Watertown, Mass. His 19-year-old brother, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, was later arrested and charged in connection with the April 15 bombings, which left three people dead and wounded 275.