Florida prosecutor to give findings in marathon-related shooting

by Reuters
Tuesday, 25 March 2014 12:39 GMT

By Barbara Liston

ORLANDO, Fla., March 25 (Reuters) - A Florida prosecutor will reveal on Tuesday whether state charges will be brought against a U.S. government agent who shot and killed a Chechen immigrant who was being questioned about April's Boston Marathon bombing.

Ibragim Todashev, 27, was shot in May 2013 at his Orlando apartment after he suddenly attacked and injured an FBI agent during an interrogation, according to the FBI.

Todashev was an acquaintance of Tamerlan Tsarnaev, one of two Chechen brothers who prosecutors contend carried out the Boston bombings that killed three people and injured more than 260.

At the time of his death, Todashev was being questioned about his suspected involvement in a triple murder in 2011 that law enforcement officials believed was linked to him and Tsarnaev.

State Attorney Jeff Ashton in Orlando will make public on Tuesday his letter to Federal Bureau of Investigation Director James Comey with the prosecutor's decision regarding Todashev's death and the investigative report, which could include the medical examiner's findings.

U.S. prosecutors also could announce their decision about whether to bring charges in the case as soon as Tuesday, a law enforcement official said last week.

The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said federal prosecutors were very likely to clear government agents of wrongdoing in the Florida shooting.

The FBI account of the shooting has been questioned by Todashev's father, who said his son was unarmed. A Muslim civil liberties group in Florida, the Tampa-based branch of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, has called for a detailed review of the shooting.

Hassan Shibly, executive director of Florida CAIR, said his organization's independent review concluded that Todashev, who was in the United States legally, was shot seven times and received a major wound, possibly a bullet hole, to the back of the head. The CAIR investigation also found blood splatter and other physical damage at the scene that pointed to Todashev being shot while he was lying on the ground, Shibly said.

Tamerlan Tsarnaev, 26, died after a gunfight with police days after the April 15 bombing attack, while he and brother Dzhokhar, now 20, were trying to flee the city. The younger Tsarnaev was later arrested and is awaiting trial on charges that carry a possible death penalty. (Editing by Colleen Jenkins and Stephen Powell)

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