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Orlando man shot by FBI was about to sign Boston murder confession

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Updated: 5/22/2013 6:44 pm
ORLANDO, Fla. (WFTV) -- A 27-year-old Orlando man who was shot and killed by an FBI agent was being questioned in a triple-murder that may have involved one of the Boston bombing suspects, WFTV has learned.

Ibragim Todashev, who was shot and killed at the Windhover condominium complex near Kirkman Avenue and Vineland Road, was "about to sign a statement" admitting to a role, along with Boston Marathon bombing suspect Tamerlan Tsarnaev, in an unsolved triple-murder in Massachusetts in 2011, two people with direct knowledge of the case told ABC News.

Todashev "just went crazy," and pulled a knife during his interview with the FBI, said state and federal law enforcement officials.

In a statement, FBI spokesman Paul Bresson said the FBI agent acted on an imminent threat and shot the interview subject.

The FBI agent was transported to a hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.

Officials said the three victims in the triple-slaying, Erik Weissman, 31, Raphael Teken, 37, and Brendan Mess, were found with their throats slit and their bodies covered with marijuana.

In the wake of the Marathon bombings, authorities in Boston began to probe a link between the Tamerlan Tsarnaev and Mess.

Tamerlan Tsarnaev and Mess were once roommates and did boxing and martial arts training together, authorities said.

In the meantime, an FBI team was dispatched from Washington to Orlando to review Todashev’s killing, a standard step that is taken in such incidents.

Todashev's friend, Khusen Taramov, told WFTV that Todashev wanted to fly home to Chechnya, but authorities asked him to stay for one last interview in regards to the Boston bombing.

"He had a ticket from New York, [and] from there, he was going to go back home. They were pushing him, saying, 'Stay, don't leave.' They said, 'We want to interview you one last time and talk to you a last time.' And he decided to stay, and today's interview was supposed to be the last time, and they said they were going to leave him alone," said Taramov.

"Do you think he would have prompted some kind of a shooting incident?" asked Channel 9’s Steve Barrett.
"No, there is no way. I know that for sure. All he wanted was to talk to them so they could leave him alone," said Taramov.

Taramov said Todashev knew the Tsarnaev brothers in Boston.

Authorities said Tamerlan Tsarnaev, 26, and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, 19, were behind the deadly Boston marathon terror attacks in April.

Tamerlan, whom authorities have described as the driving force behind the plot, was killed in a shootout with police. Dzhokhar was hospitalized with injuries sustained during a getaway attempt.

"FBI started following him, asking questions, 'Why you guys, what kind of connection do you have with them?' Trying to make the connection between them, you know what I mean. But there's no connection. There's no connection. I know that for sure," said Taramov.

Taramov said that as soon as the Tsarnaev brothers were identified as suspects in the Boston bombings, Todashev was on the FBI's radar.

"And they contacted him. Pretty much stole him from his house, they came to his house with the guns armed and they took him," Taramov said.

Taramov said both men were questioned because of their connections to each other and their mutual homeland of Chechnya.

Even before his encounter with the FBI, Todashev, a mixed martial arts fighter, had a recent run-in with law enforcement.

He was arrested earlier this month on a charge of aggravated battery after getting into a fight over a parking spot with a 54-year-old man and his 35-year-old son over a parking spot at an Orlando shopping mall.

The 35-year-old man was hospitalized with a split upper lip and several teeth knocked out, according to a report from the Orange County Sheriff's Office.

"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 bond after his May 4 arrest. His attorney, Alain Rivas, didn't immediately respond to a phone inquiry Wednesday.

FBI Statement

Statement from FBI Special Agent Dave Couvertier:

"The FBI is currently reviewing a shooting incident involving an FBI Special Agent. Based on preliminary information, the incident occurred in Orlando, Florida during the early morning hours of 5/22/2013. The agent along with two Massachusetts State Police troopers and other law enforcement personnel were interviewing an individual in connection with the Boston Marathon bombing investigation when a violent confrontation was initiated by the individual. During the confrontation, the individual was killed and the agent sustained non-life threatening injuries. As this incident is under review, we have no further details at this time."

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