A Florida man was shot early Wednesday by an FBI agent he was reportedly going in to attack after he was questioned for hours regarding a possible link to the Boston bombing suspect Tamerlan Tsarnaev.
Although much of the national media’s attention has turned toward recent government scandals — AP phone records, IRS targeting and Benghazi revelations — the investigation into the bombings of the Boston Marathon that occurred just over a month ago continues. According to WESH-TV, leads led agents to Khusn Taramiv and Ibragim Todashev in Orlando who are said to be MMA (mixed martial arts) fighters who knew Tsarnaev.
Taramiv said he and Todashv were interviewed by FBI agents for three hours Tuesday.
“(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 told WESH, later noting that the interview was set up for 7:30 p.m..
Taramiv said he left the interview, and when he got home he found out there was a shooting of a man suspected to be Todashv.
NBC News has a statement from the FBI regarding the fatal shooting incident:
“We are currently responding to a shooting incident involving an FBI special agent,” FBI Special Agent Dave Couvertier said in a statement to NBC News.
“The incident occurred in Orlando, Florida. The agent encountered the suspect while conducting official duties,” Couvertier said. “We do not have any further details at this time. We expect to have more information later this morning.”
NBC reported sources saying Todashev was cooperative initially but then went in to attack the agent, which is when he was shot.
Watch WESH-TV’s report that includes an interview with Taramiv (Content Warning: strong language):
Taramiv says in the report that Todashev only happened to know Tsarnaev when he lived in Boston and was also from Chechnya and Muslim. Taramiv said Todashev had spoken with Tsarnaev before the bombings on the phone but that he does not believe his friend (Todashev) had radical beliefs.
Public records show Todashev lived in Watertown, Mass., just outside Boston, last year. Watertown was essentially shut down in a day long manhunt a few days after the bombing as law enforcement sought out — and eventually found — Tsarnaev’s brother, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, who is alive and in custody as a suspect.
“It’s not like they were best friends or anything, he just knew him,” Taramiv said about Todashev’s relationship with Tsarnaev, adding he believed they had a couple professional fights together. Here’s a look at Todashev’s MMA profile.
Taramiv also said Todashev expressed earlier in the day that he felt the interview was going to be a “bad set up” and that the agents were making up connections and “crazy stuff.” The agents had reportedly been following the men for a while.
According to Taramiv, Todashev, who reportedly had a green card, was planning a month-long trip back to Chechnya to visit his parents, but this trip was cancelled.
Todashev was unemployed and living off of insurance from an injury he received in an accident
Todashev was arrested earlier this month on a charge of aggravated battery after getting into a fight over a parking spot with two men – a father and son – at an Orlando shopping mall. The son was hospitalized with a split lip and several teeth knocked out, according to a sheriff’s report. Todashev claimed self-defense.
“Also by his own admission Todashev was recently a former mixed martial arts fighter,” the arresting deputy said in his report. “This skill puts his fighting ability way above that of a normal person.”
Todashev was released on $3,500 bail after his May 4 arrest. His attorney, Alain Rivas, didn’t immediately respond to a call for comment Wednesday.
Todashev was also arrested by Boston police in 2010 after a road-rage incident. Witnesses told police that he argued with two other drivers and cut them off with his vehicle. He yelled, “You say something about my mother, I will kill you,” according to a police report.
There are quite a few videos on YouTube purporting to show Todashev while in the fighting ring. Here’s one:
The Associated Press contributed to this report. This report has been updated to include more information.