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Man shot to death while questioned in Boston bombing probe

By Kyle Hightower

Associated Press

LAST UPDATED: 04:57 p.m. HST, May 22, 2013


ORLANDO, Fla. » A Chechen immigrant was shot to death by authorities in central Florida early today after he turned violent while being questioned about his ties to one of the Boston Marathon bombing suspects, officials said.

Ibragim Todashev, a 27-year-old mixed martial arts fighter, was fatally shot at his Orlando townhouse during a meeting with an FBI agent and two Massachusetts state troopers, authorities said. The agent was taken to a hospital with injuries that were not life-threatening.

Three law enforcement officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, said Todashev had lunged at the FBI agent with a knife. However, two of those officials said later in the day it was no longer clear what had happened. The third official had not received any new information.

The FBI gave no details on why it was interested in Todashev except to say that he was being questioned as part of the Boston investigation. However, two officials briefed on the investigation said he had implicated himself as having been involved in a 2011 triple-slaying in the Boston suburb of Waltham that authorities believe may have been connected to one of the men behind the bombings.

Several of Todashev's former roommates who were questioned said that he knew the older bombing suspect, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, from mixed martial arts fighting in Boston and that the FBI was asking about him.

Public records show Todashev lived in Watertown, Mass., just outside Boston, last year.

Tamerlan Tsarnaev, an aspiring boxer, was killed in a shootout with police days after the April 15 bombings. His younger brother, Dzhokhar, survived and is charged with carrying out the attack that killed three people and wounded more than 260. He's also charged in the slaying of an MIT police officer days later.

Investigators have been trying to establish the scope of the Boston bombings plot. Authorities in Massachusetts said they would investigate whether Tamerlan Tsarnaev had any connection to the unsolved 2011 deaths in Waltham, where three men were found in an apartment, their throats slit and marijuana sprinkled over their bodies. One of the victims was a boxer and a friend of Tsarnaev's.

Two officials who were briefed on the investigation said Todashev made statements implicating himself as being involved in the 2011 Waltham slayings while he was being interviewed by the FBI and Massachusetts state police. Neither of the officials, one of whom had earlier told The Associated Press there was no new information on Todashev lunging at the agent, knew whether Todashev had also implicated Tamerlan Tsarnaev in the killings. The two people, a federal law enforcement official and a Massachusetts state official, were not authorized to release details of the investigation and spoke on condition of anonymity.

Neither official was sure of the extent of Todashev's supposed involvement.

According to friends, Todashev had lived on and off with other Chechens in the Orlando suburb of Kissimmee and had moved to Orlando more recently.

"He's a regular guy, nothing wrong," Saeed Dunkaev said.

Police records, however, suggest he had a hot temper, with arrests in a road rage incident and, more recently, in a fight over a parking space.

Muslin Chapkhanov, another former roommate, said Todashev knew the older Tsarnaev brother.

Todashev "was living in Boston and I think he trained with him," Chapkhanov said.

Former roommate Khusen Taramov said the FBI was asking questions about a conversation that Todashev had with the elder bombing suspect a month before the Boston attack.

The Tsarnaev brothers have roots in the turbulent Russian regions of Dagestan and Chechnya, which have become recruiting grounds for Islamic extremists. Investigators have said the brothers carried out the bombings in retaliation for the U.S. wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

An FBI team was dispatched from Washington to review the shooting, standard procedure in such cases.

Todashev was arrested earlier this month on a charge of aggravated battery after getting into a fight over a parking spot with two men — a father and son — at an Orlando shopping mall. The son was hospitalized with a split lip and several teeth knocked out, according to a sheriff's report. Todashev claimed self-defense.

"Also by his own admission Todashev was recently a former mixed martial arts fighter," the arresting deputy said in his report. "This skill puts his fighting ability way above that of a normal person."

Todashev was released on $3,500 bail after his May 4 arrest. His attorney, Alain Rivas, didn't immediately respond to a call for comment Wednesday.

Todashev was also arrested by Boston police in 2010 after a road rage incident. Witnesses told police that he argued with two other drivers and cut them off with his vehicle. According to a police report, he yelled, "You say something about my mother, I will kill you."


Associated Press writer Steve LeBlanc and AP Legal Affairs Writer Denise Lavoie in Boston, Pete Yost in Washington and Mike Schneider in Orlando contributed to this report.

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allie wrote:
on May 22,2013 | 05:45AM
mitt_grund wrote:
Another legal murder by FBI. Is interrogation supposed to occur with armed agents? Is this another instance of federal government targeting certain groups, ethnicities? Like the IRS and the Tea Party? Oh, well, it probably doesn't matter. People will shrug this off as a Muslim and/or foreigner death, so who cares.
on May 22,2013 | 06:01AM
AhiPoke wrote:
If "targeting" means you investigate anyone with ties to the Boston bombers, whether they be Muslim or foreigner, I think it's the right thing to do. In fact, I think US law enforcement should utilize profiling as a method to identify potential criminals.
on May 22,2013 | 08:02AM
patk wrote:
Stop doing illegal things and the FBI and police won't bother you. Simple as that.
on May 22,2013 | 11:28AM
mitt_grund wrote:
Another legal murder by FBI. Is interrogation supposed to occur with armed agents? Is this another instance of federal government targeting certain groups, ethnicities? Like the IRS and the Tea Party? Oh, well, it probably doesn't matter. People will shrug this off as a Muslim and/or foreigner death, so who cares.
on May 22,2013 | 06:01AM
mitt_grund wrote:
Hmm, a bit glitchy today, eh, SA. I get my say twice.
on May 22,2013 | 06:07AM
Waterman2 wrote:
Humm.....attacks a guy over a parking spot, involved with bombers, injures an interrogator......sorry grundy, in my book he got what he deserved.
on May 22,2013 | 06:49AM
Waterman2 wrote:
oops, grund.
on May 22,2013 | 06:51AM
joshislost wrote:
Ignore the fact that he lunged with a KNIFE??? ignorant. Such whimps everything has to be about religious belief or race its quite ridiculous to live in such a society.
on May 22,2013 | 01:17PM
konakeoni99 wrote:
its too bad he died. we need to get more info from anyone else involved with the Boston bombings
on May 22,2013 | 07:15AM
Poipounder808 wrote:
Pretty hard to base an opinion on such little information as far as the confronation. Why should we let the facts get in the way of our opinion huh mitt?
on May 22,2013 | 10:03AM
residenttaxpayer wrote:
If you lunge at any law enforcement officer with a knife, your likely to get shot and maybe die...
on May 22,2013 | 11:17AM
Pookie_Baby wrote:
Too bad, so sad. not
on May 22,2013 | 05:37PM
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