FBI agent cleared in fatal shooting of Boston bombing suspect’s associate

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boston-brothersWASHINGTON (CNN) — Justice Department civil rights prosecutors say there was no wrongdoing in a Federal Bureau of Investigation agent’s shooting of Ibragim Todashev, an associate of the alleged mastermind of the Boston Marathon bombings who was killed in a scuffle with agents during questioning, U.S. law enforcement officials familiar with the investigation said.

The finding concurs with an FBI internal review of the shooting, which supported the agent’s account. Among the evidence reviewed are photos of the agent showing his injuries, the officials said.

The federal review is expected to be released next week, alongside a review by the Florida state attorney for Orange and Osceola counties. The Justice Department’s civil rights division routinely does “color of law” reviews of such shootings to look into whether there are any civil rights violations by federal agents.

The shooting occurred on May 22, 2013, as Massachusetts state troopers, accompanied by FBI agents, questioned Todashev, 27, in his apartment in an Orlando suburb, according to U.S. law enforcement officials. Massachusetts investigators were pursuing information about a grisly 2011 triple murder that they thought could have been tied to Todashev and Tamerlan Tsarnaev, one of the two brothers who is accused of the bombings. The other brother, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, is facing federal charges in the bombings; Tamerlan Tsarnaev was killed while trying to get away.

Todashev’s shooting has raised questions about the FBI’s handling of the matter, because any evidence he could have provided is now lost. Todashev’s family has disputed that he posed any threat to the law enforcement officers and agents in his apartment.

“My son was definitely unarmed, because he never had a gun,” his father, Abdulbaki Todashev, told CNN in Moscow in a June 2013 interview. “He couldn’t attack them or fight them; he couldn’t do anything because even two men could easily handle him.”

U.S. law enforcement officials said Todashev made statements implicating himself and Tamerlan Tsarnaev in the murders. The FBI had interviewed Todashev before about the bombings, because he was a friend who, like Tamerlan Tsarnaev, trained in martial arts, and the two were friends. He was cooperative, and the FBI didn’t consider him to be involved.

The subsequent questioning came at the request of Massachusetts investigators who had begun taking a new look at the killings in Waltham, Mass. After several hours of questioning, U.S. law enforcement officials said, he lunged at the agent.

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