The Washington Post

Chechen lunged at agent with metal stick before being shot, officials sayChechen lunged at agent with metal stick before being shot, officials say

Ibragim Todashev, the Chechen acquaintance of one of the accused Boston bombers, was shot roughly a half-dozen times in several seconds by an FBI agent after he twice lunged at the officer with a metal stick, according to senior federal law enforcement officials.

The description of events follows a series of unofficial and contradictory accounts that surfaced after the shooting in Todashev’s Orlando apartment May 22, including early reports — later said to be inaccurate — that he attacked the agent with a knife.

Under FBI regulations regarding the use of deadly force, agents can discharge their weapons if they feel they are threatened with death or serious bodily injury. The FBI’s shooting incident review team is investigating what happened in Orlando, and its findings will be examined by a Shooting Incident Review Group, which consists of members of the FBI and the Justice Department.

A U.S. law enforcement official, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said Todashev was shot “in the range of six times.” His family, which released photos of the body through the Florida chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, said Todashev was shot in the chest, head, shoulder and arm.

His family has questioned whether the shooting was justified and is demanding the release of the autopsy report and other medical records from the Orange County Medical Examiner’s Office. The records remain sealed while the investigation is open, and officials at the Medical Examiner’s Office referred calls to the FBI.

“The family and our office has already submitted requests for [the records’] release,” said Thania Diaz Clevenger, civil rights director of CAIR Florida. “However, it is unknown at this time when the Medical Examiner’s Office will have the FBI’s authorization to release the records. The family and our office is also interested in obtaining any official police reports produced from federal or local departments. If the records are unjustly withheld, we will take any justified legal action we deem necessary.”

Todashev, who was not a suspect in the Boston Marathon bombing, was allegedly providing a written confession about a 2011 triple homicide in Waltham, Mass., when the confrontation occurred, the officials said. Law enforcement officials said he had also implicated accused Boston bomber Tamerlan Tsarnaev in the murders. Tsarnaev was killed in a shootout several days after the attack at the marathon.

There was also a Massachusetts state police officer in the room at the moment of the Orlando shooting, but he did not fire his weapon. Another state trooper and an Orlando police department officer were just outside the apartment, the officials said.

Todashev had not been arrested, but the officers had begun to discuss bringing him in because of the confession he had started to write.

Just before the shooting, the Massachusetts officer had warned the FBI agent in a text message that Todashev, a mixed martial arts expert, appeared to be getting agitated and the agent should be careful, according to the officials. Almost immediately, Todashev turned over a table and attacked the agent with what was probably part of a broom handle, officials said.

Some details of the incident were first reported in Friday’s New York Times and on CBS News.

FBI shootings are rare. In a 17-year period, ending in 2012, there were nearly 200 shootings, according to news reports, but it was unclear how many of those shootings resulted in deaths. Over the past year, there have been at least five fatal shootings involving the FBI, including one that took place during the rescue of a young child being held hostage in Alabama, according to reports.

The FBI was not able to immediately provide the exact number of fatal shootings by its agents over the past several years.

Julie Tate contributed to this report.

Sari Horwitz covers the Justice Department and criminal justice issues nationwide for The Washington Post, where she has been a reporter for 30 years.



Success! Check your inbox for details. You might also like:

Please enter a valid email address

See all newsletters

Show Comments

Sign up for email updates from the "Confronting the Caliphate" series.

You have signed up for the "Confronting the Caliphate" series.

Thank you for signing up
You'll receive e-mail when new stories are published in this series.
Most Read



Success! Check your inbox for details.

See all newsletters

Your Three. Videos curated for you.
Play Videos
Sleep advice you won't find in baby books
In defense of dads
Scenes from Brazil's Carajás Railway
Play Videos
For good coffee, sniff, slurp and spit
How to keep your child safe in the water
How your online data can get hijacked
Play Videos
How to avoid harmful chemicals in school supplies
Full disclosure: 3 bedrooms, 2 baths, 1 ghoul
How much can one woman eat?
Play Videos
What you need to know about Legionnaires' disease
How to get organized for back to school
Pandas, from birth to milk to mom

To keep reading, please enter your email address.

You’ll also receive from The Washington Post:
  • A free 6-week digital subscription
  • Our daily newsletter in your inbox

Please enter a valid email address

I have read and agree to the Terms of Service and Privacy Policy.

Please indicate agreement.

Thank you.

Check your inbox. We’ve sent an email explaining how to set up an account and activate your free digital subscription.