ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — A friend of one of the Boston marathon bombing suspects threatened an FBI agent and a Massachusetts state trooper with a long pole and was fatally shot by the agent just moments after he had agreed to give a statement about his involvement in a triple slaying in Massachusetts, a Florida prosecutor said Tuesday.
State Attorney Jeff Ashton said in a report the agent was justified in shooting Ibragim Todashev last May. The officers were questioning Todashev about the slaying in Waltham, Mass., and he was about to write a statement when his mood went from cooperative to agitated, according to the report.
Todashev, a mixed martial arts fighter, threw a coffee table in the air, knocking down the FBI agent and causing a bloody gash on the agent's head. Todashev then ran past the two officers, into the kitchen and returned with a pole that he pointed at the Massachusetts officer, the report said.
The FBI agent fired three or four shots at Todashev as he advanced on the trooper, and Todashev dropped to his knees but then lunged at the officer, and the FBI agent fired three or four more shots, the report said.
"The one common thread among all was the observation that he was, at his core, a fearless fighter," Ashton said. "Perhaps on this occasion, he simply reverted to that basic aspect of his personality and chose to go down fighting."
In the Waltham case, three men were found in an apartment with their necks slit and their bodies reportedly covered with marijuana. One of the victims was a boxer and friend of Tamerlan Tsarnaev, one of the suspects in last year's Boston marathon bombing. Tsarnaev and Todashev were friends from their days when Todashev lived in Boston.
Todashev's family have raised doubts about the account provided by law enforcement, saying that Todashev was recovering from knee surgery and was limping at the time he was killed.
Hassan Shibly, executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations in Tampa, which is conducting its own investigation into the fatal shooting, said Ashton's investigative focus was very narrow.
"It's very important that this isn't whether the agent was justified in shooting," Shibly said. "It's about the pattern of abuse that occurred before, during and after the questioning. That won't be covered in a criminal investigation."