Something strange happened in Orlando, Florida last night, as an FBI agent who was “conducting official duties” encountered 27-year-old Ibragim Todashev, who had been questioned for three hours on Tuesday in connection with the Boston Marathon bombings, at the apartment complex where Todashev evidently lived, and shot him dead. Todashev was a mixed martial arts fighter who knew Tamerlan Tsarnaev, back when both were living and training in Boston.
Todashev’s friend Khusn Taramiv talked about the incident with WESH News in Orlando:
???(The FBI) took me and my friend, the suspect that got killed. They were talking to us, both of us, right? And they said they need him for a little more, for a couple more hours, and I left, and they told me they???re going to bring him back. They never brought him back,??? Taramiv said.
“He felt inside he was going to get shot,” Taramiv said about Todashev. “I told him, ‘Everything is going to be fine, don’t worry about it.’ He said, ‘I have a really bad feeling.'”
Taramiv professed himself “completely shocked” by the violent aftermath of the interrogation. WESH News notes that Todashev was “arrested earlier this month on charges of aggravated battery.”
Another law enforcement officer who was present at the shooting told WCVB News in Boston, “There was some sort of aggressive movement that led the FBI agent to believe he was under threat and he opened fire.” The WCVB account adds that Todashev spoke with Boston bomber Tamerlan Tsarnaev less than a month before the terrorist attack.
WKMG News in Orlando reports that the FBI agent went to Todashev’s apartment to “re-question” him. They got some more details from Taramiv (whose name is spelled “Khusen Taramov” in the WKMG article) about alleged long-term FBI surveillance of Todashev, who was making preparations to leave the country:
Taramov adamantly stated that Todashev, who was arrested in Orlando earlier this month on battery charges, was not connected to the bombing.
“I know that for sure,” he said.
Taramov 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 Taramov, 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.'”
The WKMG account suggests that both Todashev and his friend Taramiv are of Chechen extraction.
Update: An interesting wrinkle in the case, as NBC News reports the FBI was interested in Todashev’s connection to Tamerlan Tsarnaev not over the Boston Marathon bombing, but rather an unsolved triple homicide in Waltham, Massachusetts from 2011. One of the victims, Brendan Mess, was an MMA fighter who Tamerlan had described as his best friend, although they fell out after Tamerlan became a strict Muslim and expressed disapproval of Mess’ “lifestyle.” The victims had their throats cut – with such great force behind it that they were nearly decapitated,” according to the New York Daily News – and their bodies were covered with marijuana.
The NBC report also says that Todashev “had some connections with radical Chechen rebels, but they say it’s not clear whether he had any role in radicalizing Tsarnaev.”