The FBI said early Wednesday that it was reviewing a fatal shooting incident in Orlando, Florida in which an individual being questioned by law enforcement in connection with the Boston bombings and an unsolved 2011 triple homicide had engaged in a “violent confrontation” with law enforcement personnel.
Just prior to being killed, the man, identified as Ibragim Todashev, reportedly confessed to involvement in the 2011 slayings of three men in Waltham, Massachusetts, one of whom had been a friend of deceased Boston bombing suspect Tamerlan Tsarnaev. CBS News is reporting that Todashev also implicated Tamerlan Tsarnaev in those slayings.
It all began Wednesday morning with the following press release from the FBI:
The FBI is currently reviewing a shooting incident involving an FBI special agent. Based on preliminary information, the incident occurred in Orlando, Florida during the early morning hours of May 22, 2013. The agent, two Massachusetts State Police troopers, and other law enforcement personnel were interviewing an individual in connection with the Boston Marathon bombing investigation when a violent confrontation was initiated by the individual. During the confrontation, the individual was killed and the agent sustained non-life threatening injuries. As this incident is under review, we have no further details at this time.
As more details emerged throughout the day, it was revealed that Todashev was a Chechen who resided in Boston at the time of the 2011 killings. He was said to have been an acquaintance of Tamerlan Tsarnaev and of the victims of the 2011 killings.
From CBS News:
Todashev lived in the Boston area at the time of the killings and was friends with Tamerlan Tsarnaev, who died in a shootout with authorities in the days after the April 15 marathon attack. It’s unclear what kind of a relationship Todashev had with Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, who remains in federal custody awaiting trial.
Earlier, CBS News senior correspondent John Miller reported that Todashev was a mixed-martial-arts fighter. Fighting was at least one interest that Todashev shared with Tamerlan Tsarnaev, who was once a boxer.
Miller also reported that Todashev had been to Chechnya before and was scheduled to return to Chechnya this week but canceled his flight.
The slayings in Waltham had been the subject of renewed interest after the Boston bombings. New questions emerged after it was discovered that Tamerlan Tsarnaev had been friends with one of the slain victims, Brendan Mess, and had reportedly been “acting strangely” after the incident at the time. The victims, two of whom were Jewish, were murdered on September 11, 2011. Once Tsarnaev was identified as one of the suspects in the bombings, investigators began reconsidering the possibility of his involvement in the 2011 murders.
A Waltham investigator who called the murders “the worst bloodbath I have ever seen in a long law enforcement career” said Tsarnaev has now proven he had the propensity for the type of violence that unfolded two years ago.
“There was no forced entry, it was clear that the victims had let the killer in. And their throats were slashed right out of an al Qaeda training video. The drugs and money on the bodies was very strange,” the investigator said.
Wednesday’s shooting occurred as agents were questioning Todashev at his apartment in Orlando, Florida. Authorities are awaiting further details as they gather additional facts pertaining to the incident, according to an Orlando-area FBI spokesman.
CNN reported some of the available details on the status of the investigation:
Ibragim Todashev attacked the FBI agent who shot him after he had confessed to a direct role in the 2011 triple homicide in Waltham, Massachusetts, a federal law enforcement official with direct knowledge of the case told CNN on Wednesday. Investigators are awaiting test results to determine whether Todashev’s DNA was found at the Massachusetts triple murder scene and whether DNA of Boston Marathon bombing suspect Tamerlan Tsarnaev — an acquaintance of Todashev — also was found there.
Law enforcement personnel had apparently been investigating Todashev for about a month, according to CNN.
Officials say Todashev was “about to sign a statement” confessing to his and Tsarnaev’s alleged roles in the 2011 slayings before he was shot.
At this time, sources said “authorities have no evidence tying Todashev to last month’s deadly terrorist bombing at the Boston Marathon that the Tsarnaev brothers are accused of carrying out,” according to CBS News.
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