Update at 10:45 a.m.: A Florida prosecutor has concluded that an FBI agent was justified in using lethal force while questioning a friend of suspected Boston Marathon bomber Tamerlan Tsarnaev.
In a letter to the FBI’s director, Florida State Attorney Jeffrey Ashton said he has declined to prosecute any of the law enforcement officers involved in the shooting death of Ibragim Todashev on May 22, 2013.
“My conclusion, based upon the facts presented to me in this investigation, is that the actions of the Special Agent of the FBI were justified in self-defense and in defense of another,” Ashton wrote in his report.
Select letter excerpts:
For approximately the next four and one half hours, the four of them [one FBI agent, two Massachusetts state troopers and Todashev] engaged in what is described by the officers as a cooperative non-coercive discussion that eventually lead Mr. Todashev to admit some involvement in the [Waltham] triple homicide that was under investigation. At various times, they quote him as making statements clearly indicating an expectation of arrest, prosecution and probable incarceration.
While neither is directly observing Mr. Todashev, the coffee table suddenly is propelled into the air striking the Special Agent of the FBI in the back of his head. Instead of running to the sliding glass door away from both officers, Mr. Todashev chooses to run past both officers in the direction of the kitchen. The Special Agent of the FBI, who is knocked to the ground by the force of the flying coffee table, attempts unsuccessfully, to grab Mr. Todashev by the leg to interrupt his flight. Mr. Todashev then runs into the kitchen area and is heard rustling through draws or cabinets as if searching for something. The Special Agent of the FBI gets to his feet, and with blood pouring from the wound to his head, pulls his weapon and shouts orders to Mr. Todashev.
The MSP officer, alerted by a loud noise, sees the coffee table flying, then Mr. Todashev fleeing toward the kitchen. His initial response is to pull his weapon and raise it; but thinking Mr. Todashev is merely fleeing out of the residence, he lowers his gun, only to immediately realize that Mr. Todashev has turned and is moving in his direction carrying a long pole of some sort.
As Mr. Todashev advances on the MSP officer, the Special Agent of the FBI fired three to four shots at him. The MSP officer, though his attention was directed to Mr. Todashev, heard the shots coming from his right and saw Mr. Todashev’s body twist in reaction to being struck by the shots. Mr. Todashev dropped to his knees by the force of the shots, but was not incapacitated. He immediately sprung toward the officers in what the MSP officer describes as a low angled lunge. The Special Agent of the FBI fired three to four additional shots which incapacitated Mr. Todashev and resulted in his death.
[DNA testing] results confirm that the FBI agent was the source of the blood stains, giving support to his testimony that he was struck prior to the shots being fired.
For reasons which we will never know, Mr. Todashev’s response to his impending arrest and probable incarceration was not to flee from the residence out the easily accessible rear door that was right behind him. We learned much about Mr. Todashev during our investigation. I find the statements of those who knew him from his fighting career most illuminating. … The one common thread among all was the observation that he was, at his core, a fearless fighter. Regardless of how beaten down he was, he simply didn’t have any quit in him. Perhaps on this occasion, he simply reverted to that basic aspect of his personality and chose to go down fighting.
– Here’s Ashton’s full letter (via Scribd):
– Here’s Ashton’s full investigation (via Scribd):
ORLANDO, Fla. — The first details of the FBI shooting of a Chechen man linked to Boston Marathon bombing suspect Tamerlan Tsarnaev are being released in Florida Tuesday morning.
Ibragim Todashev was shot to death last May after he initiated a “violent confrontation” while being interrogated in his home, the FBI says.
According to law enforcement sources, Todashev had told his questioners that Tamerlan Tsarnaev was responsible for three murders committed at a Waltham home in 2011.
Ten months after the Todashev shooting, the FBI has still not released the results of its own investigation into whether the shooting by the Boston FBI agent was justified.
But the Florida state attorney in Orlando, who conducted a separate investigation, will release his findings and conclusions Tuesday morning.
Related WBUR Investigation: