ORLANDO, Fla./WASHINGTON, (Reuters) – A Chechen immigrant who was being questioned about his possible links to one of the Boston Marathon bombing suspects was shot and killed by a federal agent in Florida yesterday after he suddenly turned violent, the FBI said.
A friend of the dead man identified him to Reuters as 27-year-old Ibragim Todashev, who had previously lived in Boston and knew Tamerlan Tsarnaev, the older of the two brothers suspected of planting two bombs at the marathon on April 15, killing three people and injuring 264.
NBC News reported that Todashev had confessed to his involvement in an unsolved 2011 triple homicide in a Boston suburb that investigators believe was drug related, citing law enforcement officials.
Authorities were investigating possible connections between Tsarnaev, who died in a shootout with police, and the 2011 incident.
Three men including a close friend of Tsarnaev were found stabbed in the neck in an apartment on Sept. 12, 2011, in Waltham, Massachusetts. News reports said marijuana was strewn over their bodies.
Yesterday’s incident took place at an apartment complex near the Universal Studios theme park, where the FBI and members of other law enforcement agencies were interviewing the man about the marathon bombing.
“A violent confrontation was initiated by the individual,” the FBI said. A special agent, it said, “acting on the imminent threat posed by the individual, responded with deadly force. The individual was killed and the special agent was transported to the hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.”
The possibility that Tsarnaev was connected to the Waltham murders is “being looked at seriously,” said Republican Representative Peter King, who serves on the House Homeland Security Committee. Other U.S. officials confirmed the investigation did involve Tsarnaev’s possible role.