Orlando, Florida, May 23: Authorities in the U.S. shot to death a Chechen immigrant who turned violent while being questioned about his ties to one of the Boston Marathon bombing suspects, officials said.
Ibragim Todashev, 27, was gunned down at his Florida home during a meeting with an FBI agent and two Massachusetts state troopers, authorities said.
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 later said it was no longer clear what happened. The third official had not received any new information.
The agent was taken to a hospital with injuries that were not life-threatening.
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.
Some of Todashev's former roommates who were questioned as well said Todashev knew one of the bombing suspects, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, from mixed martial arts fighting in Boston and that the FBI was asking about him. Public records show Todashev lived just outside Boston last year.
Tamerlan Tsarnaev 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.
Investigators have said the brothers carried out the bombing in retaliation for the U.S. wars in Muslim Iraq and Afghanistan. The Tsarnaev brothers have roots in the turbulent Russian regions of Dagestan and Chechnya, which have become recruiting grounds for Islamic extremists.
In addition, authorities in Massachusetts said they would investigate whether Tamerlan Tsarnaev had any connection to an unsolved 2011 slaying in a Boston suburb where three men were found dead 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 slayings while he was being interviewed by the FBI and Massachusetts state police. Neither of the officials knew whether Todashev had 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.
Todashev had lived on and off with other Chechens in an Orlando suburb, friends said.
"He's a regular guy, nothing wrong," Saeed Dunkaev said.
Police records show 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 Todashev had with the elder bombing suspect a month before the Boston attack.