ORLANDO, - A Florida man, believed to be an ethnic Chechen, was fatally shot Wednesday by an FBI agent who was questioning him about his ties to the Boston bombing suspects and about an unsolved 2011 triple murder in Waltham, Mass., a law enforcement official said.
Ibragim Todashev, 27, of Kissimmee, Fla., was killed in a condo in Orlando, near Universal Studios. Three law enforcement officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, said earlier Wednesday that Ibragim Todashev lunged at the FBI agent with a knife before he was shot. However, two of those officials said later Wednesday it was no longer clear whether Todashev lunged at the agent with a knife. The third had not received any new information since earlier in the day.
Todashev is not believed to have been involved in the April 15 Boston Marathon bombings that killed three people. But the official said he was being questioned about his interactions with bombing suspects Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev and about the 2011 killings.
FBI spokesman Paul Bresson said in a statement that the agent had acted on an "imminent threat" in killing Todashev, WKMG-TV reported.
The FBI agent was taken to a hospital with non-life-threatening injuries. WESH-TV reports that two Massachusetts state troopers were also involved in the interview.
NBC News, quoting unidentified investigators, reported that Todashev, who once lived in Boston, had confessed to the agent that he had played in a role in a brutal Waltham slayings and was about to sign a written statement when he allegedly attacked the agent.
The victims of that unsolved triple murders. Brendan Mess, 25, Raphael Teken, 37, and Erik Weissman, 31, were found with their throats slit and their bodies covered with marijuana. Police also recovered about $5,000 in cash at the scene in a Waltham.
Although no suspect has been arrested in the case, law enforcement officials have looked into the possibility of a link to Tsarnaev because he was acquainted with at least one of the victims.
Todashev, an ethnic Chechen, had once lived in Boston and was a casual friend of Tamerlan Tsarnaev, according to the victim's friend, Khusn Taramiv, who spoke to WESH-TV.
Tsarnaev, 26, died in a shootout with police three days after the Boston bombings. His 19-year-old brother, Dzhokhar, has been charged in connection with the attack and is being held at a prison medical center outside Boston.
Taramiv said his friend knew Tamerlan because they were both interested in martial arts.
"Back when (Todashev) used to live in Boston, they used to hang out -- not hang out -- he knew him. They met a few times because (Todashev) was a MMA fighter and (Tsarnaev) was a boxer. They just knew each other. That's it," Taramiv told WKMG-TV.
He added that Todashev last spoke with Tsarnaev via phone or Skype a week or perhaps a month before the April 15 bombings, but that the call only lasted about five minutes and had nothing to do with the marathon attack.
Tamariv told WESH-TV that he and the victim were questioned for about three hours by the FBI on Tuesday and that agents then wanted to interview Todashev alone.
"They told me they're going to bring him back," Taramiv said. "They never brought him back. He felt inside he was going to get shot."
He also said FBI agents had been following him and Todashev for several days.
Todashev was arrested by Orlando police on May 4 on charges of aggravated battery in connection with a fight in a parking lot.