Chechen killed by FBI in Boston probe 'not violent': father

Chechen killed by FBI in Boston probe 'not violent': father

A Chechen man shot dead by the FBI during questioning on his links to the Boston bombers was not violent, his father said in an interview broadcast Thursday, speaking from his home town of Grozny in Chechnya.

Ibragim Todashev, 27, was shot by the FBI in Florida on Wednesday after he stabbed an agent during questioning on his possible involvement with Tamerlan Tsarnaev in a triple homicide that took place before the Boston bombings, local media reported.

Todashev’s father, Abdulbaki Todashev, told Kremlin-funded RT television that his son knew Tsarnaev when he lived in Boston.

“It turns out that they simply went to the same gym together,” he told the channel by phone from Grozny. Tsarnaev was a keen boxer while Todashev was a mixed martial arts fighter.

Tsarnaev, 26, and his 19-year-old brother Dzhokhar are alleged to have carried out the April 15 bombings at the Boston Marathon, which killed three people and wounded more than 260.

The Todashev family moved back to Grozny from Saratov in central Russia when their son was a student, his father said. His son asked to go to the United States to practise his English.

“Then when he went over, he liked it and he said: Can I stay here?”

His son apparently had a ticket to fly to Chechnya this month but then changed his plans, he said.

It was not clear whether Todashev was suspected of a role in the bombings.

One of his friends told WESH television in Florida that the FBI had expressed interest in him since the bombing and that Todashev feared he would be “set-up”.

Todashev’s father insisted his son was not a violent person.

“If you don’t provoke him, he is a very calm person and he would never attack anyone in his life.”

Nor was he extremely devout, he said.

“He is ordinary, like all Chechens, he followed Islam and that’s it.”

He also said that Todashev was recovering from an operation and was “learning to walk again” and would not have been able to take part in the bombings.

Investigators told US media that Tsarnaev and Todashev were believed to have carried out a 2011 murder of three in a Boston suburb, whose bodies were found nearly decapitated and covered with marijuana and thousands of dollars in cash.

Todashev attacked an FBI agent with a knife and was shot, investigators said in an account that his father questioned.

“How could he attack a policeman with a knife especially, as they say, if there were five or six of them in his house?” he asked.

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