FBI Shooting In Orlando Linked To Boston Marathon Bombing?

An overnight shooting by an FBI agent that led to the death of a “person of interest” is being linked to Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev and last month’s attack on the Boston Marathon:

(CNN) – A man fatally shot early Wednesday by an FBI agent in Orlando was being investigated for a possible connection to the Boston bombings, a U.S. law enforcement official with direct knowledge of the Boston Marathon case told CNN.

The man who was shot, Ibragim Todashev, 27, knew both of the Tsarnaev brothers, Tamerlan and Dzhokhar, the official said.

The agent shot in self-defense in the incident, which occurred at Todashev’s house, the law enforcement source said.

While he was being questioned by an FBI agent, two Massachusetts State Police troopers and other law enforcement personnel, “a violent confrontation was initiated by the individual,” FBI spokesman Jason Pack said.

Todashev was killed and “the agent sustained non-life-threatening injuries,” Pack said.

Agents were led to Todashev, who had once lived in Boston, “through investigative leads,” the official said.

Todashev was from the Chechnya region, as were the Tsarnaev brothers, who are suspects in the April 15 Boston bombings. He had been living in the United States as a legal resident since approximately 2008, the source said.

The source added that the FBI had been investigating Todashev for about a month; the bombings occurred on April 15.

The FBI had followed Todashev for days, his friend told CNN affiliate Florida News 13.

Khasuen Taramov told the TV station that Todashev was living in Boston a couple of years ago when he became acquainted with Tsarnaev; after the deadly Boston Marathon bombings, the FBI began questioning and following Todashev and Taramov.

Todashev “wasn’t like real close friends (with Tsarnaev), but he just happened to know him,” Taramov said. “But he had no idea that they were up to something like that, like bombings and everything, you know what I mean?”

He told CNN affiliate WESH that Todashev and the elder brother, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, had spoken by telephone about a month before the bombings.

“It was a complete shock to him,” Taramov said.

NBC News reports that law enforcement suspeccts that Todashev may be linked to a 2011 triple homicide involving friends of Tamerlan Tsarnaev:

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 killed in a shootout with police.

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, Mass.

Their throats had been cut, and their bodies were covered with marijuana. No suspects had been arrested in that case.

Since we learned the identity of the Tsarnaev brothers, there has been speculation about Tamerlan’s involvement in this 2011 triple murder, including the possibility that it may have been linked to drug running that Tsarnaev then used to finance terrorist activities. Whether this is evidence in that direction is unclear, or whether this shooting is just something that happened because a person being questioned by the FBI got uncooperative and made the mistake of becoming aggressive with a highly trained FBI agent.

FILED UNDER: Crime, Law and the Courts, National Security, Quick Takes, Terrorism
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010. Before joining OTB, he wrote at Below The BeltwayThe Liberty Papers, and United Liberty Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. CSK says:

    In the very last sentence, you refer to “a highly trained IRS agent.” Did I miss something?

  2. @CSK:

    Grr, I’ve got CSPAN on in the background. I’ll fix that

  3. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    A shooting in Florida? Was George Zimmerman involved?

  4. CSK says:

    The latest reports say that Todashev was about to sign a statement saying he had participated in the Waltham triple murder when he went berserk, pulled a knife, and stabbed an agent several times.

  5. anjin-san says:

    A shooting in Florida? Was George Zimmerman involved?

    No, the guy who got shot was not a kid. Not Zimmermann’s style…