A man from Chechnya with links to at least one of the Boston bombing suspects was shot and killed early Wednesday during a violent confrontation at an Orlando apartment with FBI, officials said.
The FBI said 27-year-old Ibragim Todashev (pictured above) was shot just after midnight at 6022 Peregrine Avenue in the Windhover Apartments near Universal Orlando.
Three law enforcement officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, said earlier Wednesday that Todashev lunged at the FBI agent with a knife before he was shot. However, two of those officials said later Wednesday it was no longer clear whether Todashev lunged at the agent with a knife. The third had not received any new information since earlier in the day.
The FBI said Todashev initiated the violent confrontation while being questioned by the FBI agent, two Massachusetts State Police troopers and other law enforcement officers.
CBS News reported that Todashev was being questioned about an unsolved triple-homicide that occurred in Waltham, Mass., on the 10th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks.
"This was one of the lines of questioning they were shifting into as they went into their meeting last night," said CBS News Senior Correspondent John Miller and former associate director of FBI. "Certainly the FBI wanted to talk to him more and was aware of the idea that he was planning to make that trip."
When asked if the FBI was ready to make an arrest on Tuesday night, Miller said, "there was no indication that they were in a mode to make an arrest. They wanted to talk to him further."
Sources told CBS that that Dzhokhar and Tamerlan Tsarnaev, the suspects in the Boston Marathon bombing, and Todashev, apparently knew the three people.
"There were a number of contacts between him (Todashev) and Tamarlan Tsarnayev," Miller said. "There was a time when Ibrahim was in Boston, there were contacts after he left Boston and returned to Florida."
In a statement, FBI spokesman Paul Bresson said the agent acted on an "imminent threat" and shot Todashev, who was killed. The FBI agent was taken to a hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.
The FBI said a post-shooting incident review team has been dispatched from Washington and will arrive in Orlando by Thursday.
Khusen Taramov, a friend of Todashev, told Local 6 that Todashev knew Tamerlan Tsarnaev, who was killed in a shootout with police near Boston three days after the marathon bombing.
“Back when (Todashev) used to live in Boston, they used to hang out -- not hang out -- he knew him. They met a few times because (Todashev) was a MMA fighter and (Tsarnaev) was a boxer. They just knew each other. That’s it,” said Taramov, who added that Todashev last spoke with Tsarnaev via phone more than a month ago.
Taramov adamantly stated that Todashev, who was arrested in Orlando earlier this month on charges of aggravated battery with great bodily harm, was not connected to the bombing.
"I know that for sure," he said.
Taranov also said he was questioned by the FBI for four hours on Tuesday night before agents asked to speak to Todashev alone.
"He had really bad feelings last night," said Taranov. "He gave me his mother and fathers number. If something happens, call them."
The arrest of Todashev occurred more than two weeks ago and involved a fight over a parking spot at the Orlando Premium Outlet Mall, according to an Orange County sheriff's arrest affidavit. The affidavit stated that Todashev brutally beat the man and knocked out several of his teeth during the fight. Todashev was jailed for a few hours before being released on $3,500 bond.
"You also had an individual who friends described as a guy who had a temper, you had someone who had a propensity towards violence if you look at the assault arrest and you had a guy who was under stress and tension being the focus of an FBI probe but also a person with what he thought to be advanced fighting skills," Miller said of the FBI's claims of Todashev attacking agents.
Taranov said the FBI had been watching and following Todashev since Tsarnaev was identified as a suspect in the Boston Marathon bombing.
“We had a feeling that a worse-case scenario, that something like (a shooting) is going to happen,” said Taranov, who added that Todashev had recently booked a plane ticket.
“He had a ticket to New York. From there, he was going to go home,” he said. “(The FBI was) pushing him to stay, saying, ‘We want to interview one last time.'"
Taranov said he was surprised when he first learned about the Boston Marathon bombing.
“When I found out it was Chechens (who were named as suspects), I was shocked. I couldn’t believe it,” he said.
The brother of Tamerlan Tsarnaev, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, was arrested in connection with the April 15 Boston bombing, which left three people dead and wounded 275.
Friends say Todashev had a Green Card and had been in the United States for several years.
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