WASHINGTON (AP) — A Florida prosecutor has cleared an FBI agent of any criminal wrongdoing in the fatal shooting of a Chechen man as he was being questioned about a Boston Marathon bombing suspect, two law enforcement officials with knowledge of the investigation said Friday.
The officials, speaking on condition of anonymity Friday because they weren’t authorized to speak publicly about the case, said State Attorney Jeff Ashton won’t bring charges against the agent who shot Ibragim Todashev, a 27-year-old mixed martial arts fighter.
The circumstances surrounding Todashev’s death have remained mysterious: Officials initially said the man had lunged at an agent with a knife while FBI agents and Massachusetts state troopers were questioning him about his friendship with suspected Boston Marathon bomber Tamerlan Tsarnaev. Later, they said it was no longer clear what happened.
Todashev’s father, Abdul-Baki Todashev, insisted during a May news conference that his son was unarmed and has maintained his son’s innocence. He presented photographs, which The Associated Press could not authenticate, showing his son was shot six times in the torso and once in the back of the head.
The Washington Post first reported the prosecutor’s decision. Ashton’s office said in an emailed statement that he has not made a final decision regarding the investigation into Todashev’s death and denied sharing any such decision with federal officials.
The Justice Department also has been investigating but has not yet released its findings. A third law enforcement official said the Justice Department is expected to reach the same conclusion, based on a recommendation from the FBI.
Federal prosecutors have said in court filings that Todashev named Tsarnaev as a participant in an earlier triple homicide in Massachusetts. The filings were made in the case against Tsarnaev’s brother, surviving bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev.