The report last week that FBI agents shot and killed Ibragim Todashev just as he was about to sign a confession implicating himself and Boston bombing suspect Tamerlan Tsarnaev in an unsolved 2011 triple-homicide was already pretty bizarre, and on Wednesday night it got even weirder. It was initially reported that Todashev, a 27-year-old Chechen immigrant, suddenly attacked an FBI agent after several hours of questioning in his Orlando apartment. Some officials said Todashev tried to grab the agent’s gun, and others said he had a knife. Now law enforcement sources tell the Washington Post that Todashev was actually unarmed, prompting his family and a civil rights group to demand an investigation.
On May 22, the FBI revealed that a man being interviewed in the Boston bombing investigation was killed after a “violent confrontation was initiated by the individual,” with the FBI agent sustaining “some cuts and abrasions.” Details about the incident are still sketchy, but one source said on Wednesday that the confrontation occurred when law enforcement officials interrogating Todashev stepped out of the room, leaving him alone with the FBI agent. Two officials confirmed to the Post that Todashev was unarmed, and one said that he lunged at the agent and overturned a table. An official told The Wall Street Journal that the agent was possibly cut by a piece of furniture during the altercation, and the knife story might have been sparked by confusion about a decorative samurai sword that was hanging on the wall.
At a Wednesday evening press conference organized by the Florida chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, the civil rights group said it will file paperwork this week asking for an independent investigation into his death by the Department of Justice Civil Rights Division. In response, the FBI said it’s already conducting an internal review, as “The FBI takes very seriously any shooting incidents involving our agents.”
At the press conference, Todashev’s family members showed photos of his body taken at a funeral home and revealed he was shot seven times, including once in the head. Todashev’s widow, Reniya Manukyan, said he wasn’t very close with Tamerlan Tsarnaev, and insisted that her husband wasn’t involved in the triple murder in Waltham, Massachusetts. Manukyan said she has records that prove her husband was with her in Atlanta on the night of the crime. “We want to know why it happened,” she added. “We want to know what is the truth.”