FBI kills Chechen man during Boston bombing probe: What's known of him? (+video)

An FBI interrogation, part of the Boston bombing probe, ends in shooting death of a Chechen immigrant in Florida. The man reportedly knew suspect Tamerlan Tsarnaev. FBI claims self-defense.

By , Correspondent

Ibragim Todashev, a friend of the accused Boston Marathon bomber Tamerlan Tsarnaev, was shot dead by an FBI agent during questioning in Orlando. Todashev was being questioned about a grisly triple murder believed to be committed by the two men.

The FBI shot and killed a man in Orlando, Fla., early Wednesday after an interview about his connections to Boston bombing suspect Tamerlan Tsarnaev turned violent.

An FBI agent acted in self-defense after the suspect initiated a violent confrontation while being interviewed at his home, FBI spokesman Paul Bresson said.

"The agent, along with other law enforcement personnel, were interviewing an individual in connection with the Boston Marathon bombing investigation when a violent confrontation was initiated by the subject," FBI Agent Dave Couvertier said in a statement to media outlets. "During the confrontation, the individual was killed and the agent sustained nonlife-threatening injuries. As this incident is under review, we have no further details at this time."

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Officials identified the suspect as Ibragim Todashev, a Chechen man who knew the elder Tsarnaev brother because both had been mixed martial arts fighters, according to local media reports.

The FBI has been investigating known associates of Tsarnaev, who was killed after a confrontation with authorities three days after the bombing, and his brother, Dzhokhar, who faces criminal charges related to the bombings that killed three people and wounded more than 260. During the investigation, the FBI was led to Mr. Todashev, who has been living in the US as a legal resident since 2008, a law enforcement official told CNN.

Todashev met Tamerlan Tsarnaev in Boston more than two years ago, and they were only casual acquaintances, Khusn Taramiv, the suspect’s friend, told WESH-TV in Orlando. Todashev and Tsarnaev spoke on the phone a month before the Boston attacks, but only to say hello, Mr. Taramiv said. Todashev had no knowledge of Tsarnaev’s plans, he added.

The FBI had interviewed Taramiv and Todashev several times, and the questioning that began Tuesday lasted several hours, Taramiv said.

"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.

Orange County sheriff's deputies had previously arrested Todashev May 4, and he was charged with aggravated battery with great bodily harm, the Orlando Sentinel reported.

Todashev allegedly quarreled with a man over a parking spot at the Orlando Premium Outlet mall. He told authorities that, upon his arrest, that he "was only fighting to protect his knee because he had surgery in March," according to the arrest report. Todashev left the scene in a vehicle, and the other man was unconscious on the ground surrounded by “a considerable amount of blood,” the report said.

"Also by his own admission Todashev was recently a former mixed martial arts fighter," the arresting deputy noted in the report. "This skill puts his fighting ability way above that of a normal person."

Throughout the Boston bombing investigation, the FBI has sought to determine how the Tsarnaev brothers, both Muslims, came to be radicalized, exploring Tamerlan’s ties to extremists from Chechnya. FBI sources also told WESH that Todashev has friends overseas who are Islamist extremists.

Advocates in the US Chechen community have said that Russian intelligence officials may be pushing the FBI to investigate Chechens who speak out against Russia but who have no ties to terrorism, The New York Times reported

FBI agents have repeatedly questioned Musa Khadzhimuratov, a former rebel fighter who now lives in Manchester, N.H., according to The New York Times. Tsarnaev had brief social visits with Mr. Khadzhimuratov, the latest a few weeks before the Boston attacks. Khadzhimuratov denies having any knowledge of the Tsarnaev brothers’ plans.

– Material from the Associated Press was used in this report.

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