By Michael Norton
STATE HOUSE NEWS SERVICE
BOSTON -- The FBI agent who shot and killed Ibragim Todashev in his Orlando residence in May 2013 acted in self-defense, according to an investigation by Florida State Attorney Jeff Ashton, who concluded there was no evidence that the agent committed "intentional misconduct or acted with any degree of malice."
In investigatory conclusions released on Tuesday, Ashton wrote that Todashev on May 22, 2013 engaged in more than four hours of "cooperative non-coercive" discussions with the agent and two Massachusetts State Police officers and admitted "some involvement" with a Sept. 11, 2011 triple murder in Waltham.
After one of the State Police officers stepped outside the residence to communicate to authorities back home that Todashev was preparing a written statement detailing his involvement in the murders, Todashev's demeanor changed, according to Ashton's report.
Just after midnight, the suspect then flipped a coffee table into the air, striking the FBI agent and giving him a serious head injury, and ran past both officers into the kitchen where he was "heard rustling through draws or cabinets as if searching for something."
According to Ashton's letter, Todashev then came back at them holding a pole over his head.
The FBI agent fired three to four shots at him.
The report noted Todashev's background in mixed martial arts and said the officers, upon entering his residence, noted "a silhouette of an assault rifle on the front door and a decorative sword hanging on the wall inside."
Todashev was contacted by law enforcement April 21, 2013 due to his "association" with Boston Marathon bombing suspect Tamerlan Tsarnaev, who was killed during a shootout in Watertown after authorities released photos of Tamerlan and his brother Dzhokhar - who has been charged with using a weapon of mass destruction and could face the death penalty if convicted. The report said Todashev was identified as a person of interest in the Waltham homicides based on information discovered by law enforcement officers in Boston.
Ashton reported that the officers had initially planned to meet with Todashev at a "secure location" but learned when they arrived in Orlando that Todashev was not willing to meet them at a secure location but would meet with them at his residence.
"After discussion, they determined that the risks of meeting him in an unsecured environment were outweighed by the potential benefits of obtaining his cooperation in their investigation and agreed to meet him at his residence," Ashton wrote.
The report said Todashev ran between the officers after flipping the table, opting against trying to leave his residence through a sliding glass door behind him.
Ashton wrote, "The one common thread among all was the observation that he was, at his core, a fearless fighter. Regardless of how beaten down he was, he simply didn't have any quit in him. Perhaps on this occasion, he simply reverted to that basic aspect of his personality and chose to go down fighting."