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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

Todashev suspect in Waltham triple homicide

Published: August 23, 2013
Section: News, Top Stories

bragim Todashev, 27, was shot dead in May 2013 during an interrogation with an FBI official and two Massachusetts State officers regarding the triple homicide in Waltham in September 2011. He was shot by an FBI agent after allegedly attacking the man.

There is some conflict over the moments before Todashev was shot. One official told the Washington Post that Todashev was shot after trying to take the agent’s gun, while two others reported that he reached for a knife and was shot as he tried to attack the agent. FBI officials have said recently that it was not clear what had happened.

According to reports, Todashev was about to sign a written confession implicating himself and Tamerlan Tsarnaev in the Waltham triple homicide when he allegedly attacked the FBI agent, who shot and killed him.

Todashev was an acquaintance of Tamerlan Tsarnaev, the Boston marathon bombing suspect who was killed during pursuit in Watertown, MA in April. Todashev’s attorneys claim that although Tsarnaev and Ibragim Todashev attended the same MMA gym, they were not friends.

On August 13, about three months after his son’s death, Todashev’s father, Abuldaki Todashev, came forward at a press conference to claim his son’s innocence and demand an explanation for his death. He explained that his son had undergone knee surgery just two weeks prior to when he was killed, and therefore was not capable of “lunging and attacking” an agent. His father claimed that Todashev “didn’t do anything wrong. He was simply not capable of doing it.”

Attorneys claim that Todashev was shot seven times in his Florida home, including once in the back of his head. Media reports citing anonymous sources provide conflicting reports as to whether Todashev was armed at the time of shooting.

The FBI said that they have continued to investigate the shooting since it occurred in May.

As of August 9, the Department of Justice (DOJ) had compiled a preliminary report on the circumstances surrounding Todashev’s death. Florida State Attorney Jeff Ashton received the report for the DOJ and is beginning an investigation of his own. Ashton and Abdulbaki Todashev met this week to discuss the case. On Wednesday, Abdulbaki met with U.S. Attorney Lee Bentley for over an hour to further discuss the investigation.

Director Hassan Shibly of the Florida Council on American-Islamic Relations spoke to ABC News about the intent of the investigation. “We are really conducting an investigation to see if his civil rights were violated, was an excessive, unlawful use of force used against him, and how can we protect other Americans from having to worry about getting killed by federal officers,” he said. “This is about protecting due process of all Americans.”

Shibly said that the federal investigation will focus on the potential violation of Todashev’s civil rights, and the state investigation will focus on Florida’s use of force laws.

As The Hoot has reported previously, the triple homicide of Brendan Mess, Eric Weissman, and Raphael Teken was committed just a few miles away from the Brandeis campus in September 2011. At the time, the homicide was written off as a drug related murder. No suspects were named and no arrests were made.

In April 2013, Tsarnaev’s friendship with one of the victims, Mess, raised suspicions of his involvement in the Waltham homicide. Tsarnaev and Mess knew each other from high school; Tsarnaev had previously described Mess as his best friend. Todashev’s friendship with Tsarnaev led the police to question him regarding the bombing and the homicides.

Todashev was not involved in the Boston Marathon bombing. He did admit, however, that he played a direct role in the Waltham killings and indicated Tsarnaev’s involvement as well. Todashev told the investigators that the three men were killed during a drug ripoff because he and Tsarnaev were afraid they would be able to identify the friends and tell the police what happened.

The investigation of the Waltham triple homicide is still in process. The Middlesex District Attorney Marian Ryan declared that the Waltham murder investigation is “by no means closed.”