An FBI agent involved in the controversial shooting of a suspect with ties to one of the primary suspects in the bombing of the Boston Marathon on April 15, 2013 has been cleared of the use of improper force, as the Justice Department and a Florida state prosecutor have both announced today that no charges will be brought against the agent according to ABC News.
Florida State Attorney Jeffrey Ashton disclosed his findings today regarding the case. Ibragim Todashev was being questioned in his home last May by FBI agents who were investigating a connection between Todashev and alleged Boston bombing mastermind Tamerlane Tsarnaev. FBI agents were questioning Todashev in his home regarding a 2011 triple murder that happened in Massachusetts.
In his report, Ashton said that the actions of the FBI "were justified in self-defense and in defense of another".
Ashton's finding concur with the findings of an internal FBI review of the shooting. CNN reports that those findings are also consistent with what the Florida state attorney for Orange and Osceola counties found during another investigation into Todashev's death in his Orlando home. The Justice Department stated that it, "has determined that the evidence does not reveal a violation of the applicable federal criminal civil rights statutes."
Officials stated that included in the evidence that was considered in the reviews of the case were photos of the agent showing the injuries he said were a result of the threatening encounter with the suspect during the interview at his home.
Investigators say that Todashev had insisted on meeting with FBI agents, who had already interviewed him on several occasions, at his home in Orlando, Florida. Todashev was believed to have been involved in the grisly Massachusetts triple-murder, which investigators believed also involved Tamerlan Tsarnaev, who along with his younger brother Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, are accused of carrying out the deadly bombing of the Boston Marathon in April 2013.
After four hours of questioning by FBI agents in his home about the triple-murder, and Boston bombing suspect Tsarnaev, ABC News reports that Todashev had agreed to write and sign a confession to the triple-murder.
The report into the shooting says that Todashev had admitted to FBI agents that he was involved in the Massachusetts triple murder from 2011. "Okay, I'm telling you I was involved in it, okay, I, I, had no idea [redacted] gonna kill anyone," the report attributed to Todashev. It is not being reported that agents believed Todashev to be directly involved with the Boston bombing.
The report released by Ashton states that when the FBI agents were not looking, Todashev flung a coffee table at one of the agents, knocking the agent to the floor and left him with "blood pouring" from his head. According to the report, Todashev then ran into his kitchen, grabbed what was described as "a long pole of some sort", raised it like a spear, and advanced toward a Massachusetts State Police officer who was involved in the interview.
According to Ashton's report, an FBI agent then fired four shots, which did not incapacitate Todashev, and as the suspect "lunged" towards officers again, the FBI agent fired more shots, killing Todashev. An autopsy released along with Ashton's report states that Todashev was shot seven times, including once in the head.
"My conclusion, based upon the facts presented to me in this investigation, is that the actions of the Special Agent of the FBI were justified in self-defense and in defense of another," Ashton said.
The Justice Department's report agreed:"[I]t was reasonable for the injured Agent to believe that it was necessary to shoot in order to halt the immediate threat of death or serious bodily harm."
Along with the questions surrounding the details of the shooting, the FBI agents have also been under scrutiny due to the fact that officials believed that Todashev could provide valuable information in implicating Tsarnaev in the triple-murder prior to the bombing of the Boston Marathon. With Tsarnaev dead, any information he could have provided about the murders or the bombing is lost.
[Image via Orange County Sheriff's Department]