Photograph: Huffington Post
A man with connections to Tamerlan Tsarnaev, Ibragim Todashev, was shot and killed by FBI agents on Wednesday, May 22, 2013. Here’s what we know so far;

An Orlando area news channel for ABC reported Wednesday the 22nd that while “scouring the nation for radical Chech(e)ns who had connections to the bombers ... the FBI met with one of them and he ended up shot to death.” Unfortunately, the article provided very little detail as to why Todashev was being interviewed in his home or why he was shot.  Also published on Wednesday, an article on the N.Y. Times website provides more detailed information about why the Orlando man was being interviewed. The information from anonymous officials includes the assertion that Todashev implicated himself and Tsarnaev in the unsolved murder of three men in Boston in 2011.

“The man, Ibragim Todashev, had been speaking for two hours in his apartment to officials from the Massachusetts State Police and the F.B.I. about Mr. Tsarnaev and the Sept. 11, 2011, murders in Waltham, Mass., when he suddenly grabbed an object and tried to attack the agent, one official said. “He exploded and leapt at him,” said the official, who said the F.B.I. agent sustained minor injuries that required stitches ... The official said Mr. Todashev had something in his hand, “a knife or a pipe or something.”

One statement from the article worth discussing: “There was no indication on Wednesday why Mr. Todashev — who, like the Tsarnaevs, was an ethnic Chechen — would have implicated himself and Mr. Tsarnaev in the murders.”
Photograph: Splash News
This article from NBC News presents as fact the idea that Todashev admitted to the murders and implicated Tsarnaev, as seen in their headline: Man with ties to Boston bombing suspect admits role in 2011 murders; shot during FBI questioning. The article begins with an attention grabbing news bite; “Dead Boston bombing suspect Tamerlan Tsarnaev and another man — who was killed by the FBI on Wednesday — murdered three people in Massachusetts after a drug deal went wrong in 2011, law enforcement sources tell NBC News.” Twice this article quotes officials stating that agents were attacked with a knife. It also asserts that Todashev “became violent as he was about to sign a written statement based on his confession.”

As with the Boston bombings, information regarding this event came out a week later which contradicts original reports. The first sentence of this article by the Washington Post states “A Chechen man who was fatally shot by an FBI agent last week during an interview about one of the Boston bombing suspects was unarmed, law enforcement officials said Wednesday.” This article provides a fairly detailed picture of the events and, as in their previous article, acknowledges the inconsistencies. According to the article an FBI agent, two Massachusetts State Police troopers, and “other law enforcement personnel” were interviewing Todashev in his home. It acknowledges that initial reports from officials stated that Todashev wielded a knife while other officials stated that Todashev tried to grab the FBI agent’s gun. It also states that two officials have now stated that Todashev was not armed. 

What we find most interesting, is that “according to one account of the shooting, the other law enforcement officials had just stepped out of the room, leaving the FBI agent alone with Todashev, when the confrontation occurred. The shooting followed hours of questioning by the law enforcement officials that had begun the night before.”

Today an article was posted to The Daily Mail UK which reveals that Todashev “was shot seven times during questioning, including once in the back of the head.” Another post on Live Leak today portrays an understandably upset father that wants answers. Both of these posts contain images of Todashev’s body that were sent to his father by his friends to whom the FBI released his body.

Todashev is an MMA fighter (which is the connection to Tsarnaev) so it could be argued that despite the apparent lack of a weapon Todashev’s body is in itself a weapon. Was the FBI agent justified in his use of deadly force? FBI and other police officials are trained to use alternatives to deadly force (tasers, pepper spray, etc.). Why were these alternatives not used?

  • Todashev was “interviewed” by officials for two hours (or maybe 8) in relation to a 2011 triple homicide. (N.Y. TimesWashington Post)
  • Todashev implicated himself and Tsarnaev in that murder and was about to sign a written confession (Or not. It’s difficult to say). (N.Y. Times)
  • No one knows why he could have possibly wanted to admit to a triple homicide and implicate Tsarnaev. (N.Y. Times)
  • Multiple officials have given anonymous, conflicting statements concerning what actually led to the event of the shooting. (Washington Post)
  • Todashev had a knife... (NBC News)
  • Or a pipe... Or something... (N.Y. Times)
  • Actually he was unarmed. (Washington Post)
  • But may have tried to grab the agent’s gun. (Washington Post)
  • All of the officials except for the FBI agent had left the room prior to the incident. (Washington Post)
  • Todashev was presumably shot six times to the body, once to the top of the head. (Live Leak and Daily Mail UK)
  • Officials do not know who shot Todashev. (N.Y. TimesNBC News)


5/31/2013 03:20:20 am

I cannot get past the fact that they were interviewing him in his home. They claim that he confessed to be a killer, but they chose his home instead of a controlled environment? Nothing about this makes sense. I cannot help but wonder what he knew that the FBI did not want him to repeat. Of course, dead men tell no tales.

5/31/2013 03:50:36 am

The family could release the autopsy if they want everyone to know if he was shot in the back of the head.

I've seen the photo of the head wound.

It could be a gunshot. It could be a graze wound. It could be from him just falling over dead and cracking his skull.

Regardless it doesn't really have anything to do with Dzhohkar Tsarnaev and the crimes he is accused of committing. Everyone seems intent on finding the evidence that could prove he is innocent. How about trying to remove him from the Watertown shootout. Now that would turn some heads.

5/31/2013 03:46:30 pm

You bring up an excellent point about the Watertown shooting. It's easier to "debunk", if you will, the Marathon and some of the events involving Dzhokhar, but a lot of discussions don't really focus on the Watertown shooting.

I have questions about the validity of the shooting simply based on damage to surrounding structures, but I'm not sure I could say, "No, he wasn't there" and truly believe that. My humble opinion, the brothers were in Watertown and a gunfight did occur (whether that was a one sided fight or both ways, I'm not sure). They have said that Dzhokhar was unarmed, so he wasn't firing at police, but he was still there (IMO) and I still have several questions with regards to the explosives they threw (but other sources say they didn't throw anything at all) and that video Kitzenberg released of them attempting to light something. Again, not a whole lot of concrete information, but a bunch of questions. This post really didn't help anything, but I just wanted to say that you bring up some good points.

John Baxter
5/31/2013 09:32:50 pm

This has a lot to do with Dzhokhar tsarnaev, mostly in relation to the way it was handled. Common theme:leaks of information supposedly from officials but it changes regularly, huge use of fire power when they weren't actually trying to kill the person, parents abroad who now have dead children being linked to brutal murders, rush to get information out linking to the 2011 murder when investigation should still be ongoing.
I sometimes feel this case highlights the media flaws in relation to feeding information whether they're contradicting themselves or not.
Guilty or not this case is so weird and the force and might of law enforcement against 2 unarmed people has struck a chord with some people. I'd rather people question something that is presented wrong than just accept it. I'm not convinced he's innocent but I'm not going to proclaim him guilty, either of them.
Mistakes were made with Ibragim Todashev, obviously because he's dead and it just rakes up people's suspicisions more.

6/1/2013 12:20:32 am

Do you have a link to the source that says that they didn't throw any explosives?

By the way, WATL, thanks for making the timeline in your post. I like how you mostly question the information, rather than claiming it has to mean anything.

6/1/2013 12:06:34 pm

"Regardless it doesn't really have anything to do with Dzhohkar Tsarnaev and the crimes he is accused of committing." I disagree with this because everything that is going on has got to do with him. If not him, then who does it have to do with?

"Everyone seems intent on finding the evidence that could prove he is innocent." This is true, but to be the devil's advocate here, could this be because all the evidence that is accusing him of the bombing is just too sketchy?

"How about trying to remove him from the Watertown shootout. Now that would turn some heads." This is not possible and doesn't make sense at all because their is clear evidence that he was there (or someone who looks like him) because I can't really see because the pictures are rather blurry. Let's say that that is him then he is guilty of being there.. That's all that I've go so far. I need evidence of him with the gun in hand, shooting at the cops and throwing lethal bombs at them. All I see is a boy crouching behind a car. I heard witnesses say that he sped off so then he is guilty of that as well.

I think that for me it is not so much about finding evidence that proves his innocence, it is about seeing evidence that proves he is guilty. At the moment he is guilty of crouching behind a car while police are shooting at him, driving off in a stolen car and hiding in a boat.

5/31/2013 06:36:32 am

who shoots someone six/ seven times in self-defense? And I assume now the reports of "non life threatening injuries" suffered by the FBI agent is a fabrication?

5/31/2013 09:50:55 pm

@John Baxter, your posts always make me think and I really like that. Especially since, like you said, you're approaching this from a neutral standpoint. So, so, so much about this situation (Dzhokhar's involvement and injuries, Tamerlan's death and now linkage to the murders, Ibragim as a whole, etc.) just sets wrong with me. Ibragim's wife has mentioned in interviews that she has proof they were in Atlanta on the day of the murders, so that raises the question of why would Ibragim be about to confess to three murders that he literally COULD not have done? (Assuming the wife is correct and they truly were in Atlanta that day). It's all just...fishy.

5/31/2013 11:37:10 pm

Thanks Marie, honestly I have followed the information on and off but for whatever reason like others this case has drawn me in. It's good to see the view from others like yourself who actually weight up the details.

6/1/2013 01:04:26 am

It was a good post but technically I'm not sure you can say 2 unarmed people. Dzhohkar was unarmed but they had no way of knowing that and I think the real threat they felt was from a possible bomb vest. Tamerlan was only unarmed because he ran out of ammunition.

Todashev's case is a bit more complex and I would suspect the reason we are not hearing much and/or a bunch of conflicting reports is because these officers that pulled the trigger are under investigation and I'm sure there are lawyers involved. I don't buy into the notion that he was killed because he needed to be " silenced" He had plenty of time to tell everybody whatever it is he was supposedly killed for. Most likely he did do something to provoke those cops and they responded like a bunch of over zealous pansies. They wanted to look good getting this confession and broke protocol holding the interview in this apt. and now their careers are probably in jeopardy. Are they criminally responsible? Probably not. They're just bad cops.

6/1/2013 12:48:01 am

@Eulalie, I regret not having included that in my post because since then I've saved dozens of other sites. Just so you know, I'm not ignoring your request! Let me go back through my stuff and try to find the original place I saw it.

6/1/2013 01:15:31 am

And just for the sake of clarification...you don't need to attack a cop with a weapon to be subject to deadly force. And there is no such thing as shooting to injure in a situation like that.

6/1/2013 01:19:24 pm

I agree there re many complexities to these cases and particularly the report of not being armed doesn't mean they would not be dangerous, I just think it draws people in. I believe Ibragim would have had the ability to cause damage without a weapon. While the media in some instances have rushed to condemn these people, they have also fuelled some of the supporters of these people. I do wonder if information that was just given by a named official was weighted up what the opinion would be. My post is really more about the perception by the media rather than what actually happened because we have no official report yet and we weren't there.

6/1/2013 11:39:48 am

My two cent worth. Shelley makes a good point about interviewing him in his home. I'm just thinking that a man like him, an MMA fighter who has heightened reflexes and whose body is his weapon, is someone who should have been interviewed at the police station, in an environment where the police are in control of the situation. In this situation, there would have been officers in the room with him, no weapons, and people witnessing the interview through a two-way mirror. If he did suddenly attack Bruce Lee style, which is what the police would have been anticipating if they had profiled him properly, then they would have been prepared for this. There would have been enough people in the room to restrain him and if he was managing to overpower them, again Bruce lee style, other officers from outside would have rushed in subdued him (non-lethally).. Well, this is what could have and should have happened if strategy was implied.

Based on where they interviewed him and the outcome of this interview, there was once again no tactics applied and I know, or would like to think that the FBI is familiar with profiling and interrogation strategy. I can then only assume that their intention was to take this guy out.

6/1/2013 12:42:36 pm

would have rushed in and subdued him (correction)

if strategy was applied (correction)

6/1/2013 03:15:27 pm

why would the authorities want to 'take this guy out'? According to his own father, Tsarnaevs' mother and his friend Khusn he didn't know Tamerlan very well. If we stick with your thought ... he must have 'known' something that was likely common knowledge within Tamerlan's gym and/or boxing circle. So the authorities would have to take out many more people or silence them at the least.

6/1/2013 03:54:26 pm

well, we'll just have to wait and see who dies next I guess...what he "knew" we will never know because he is dead. Who benefits from him being dead? This is what bothers me...or it is just very bad police work which then bothers me even more...

6/1/2013 04:28:10 pm

I vote bad police work ... guys with guns don't read signals well sometimes. Think about it Todashev is not a native English speaker, his friends and family confirm he was never questioned about the triple homicide in his previous interviews. His friend, the one that was interviewed with him the same day said the questions were about Tamerlan and the Boston bombing. And he (Todashev) loses it as they dictate a written confession to him or give him a pre-written one to sign. He's a mixed martial arts fighter/boxer backed into a corner so he probably showed aggression (fight or flight) and the agent(s) 'reacted' to a perceived threat. Clearly no one thought of consequences or the case at hand, evidence they were trying to build.

We can hope the FBI agent was more cerebral, someone good at negotiations perhaps .. but alas he was just another guy with a gun. His task was to get a confession at any cost, to help the prosecutors build their case and he (the agent) clearly messed up.

What do you think?

6/1/2013 05:22:11 pm

aha! i just read something about the FBI's internal "non-recording" policy as in no electronically recorded interviews, which sheds light on why that written confession was so important. I was wondering why they couldn't just wait on the written confession - call him back the next day especially if they had compelling evidence. Silly agents.

6/1/2013 08:13:34 pm

I am so angry about how this all went down. It is obvious that proper protocol was not followed. This man should not have been interviewed in his home. There we more than enough agents on scene to subdue him without resulting in murdering him. They are supposed to be trained to disable the suspect not kill them. I am just speechless.

6/2/2013 01:21:22 am

Thank you Michele. American law enforcements are very well versed and trained in tactics and interrogations. They are among the best in the world. The FBI's BAU is known for their profiling and/operational support in complex crimes.

Anon said-"We can hope the FBI agent was more cerebral, someone good at negotiations perhaps .. but alas he was just another guy with a gun. His task was to get a confession at any cost, to help the prosecutors build their case and he (the agent) clearly messed up." "Silly agents"...scary... because not only did he (the agent) mess up, but the entire chain of command did so and this is the second time already in this case where it seems that unnecessary excessive force was used on unarmed men and the third time where no strategy was applied. Scary.

6/2/2013 04:24:00 am

Maybe he "knew" this...


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