KISSIMMEE, Fla. - A 27-year-old Orlando man who was shot and killed by an FBI agent Wednesday was being questioned in a triple-murder that may have involved one of the Boston bombing suspects, WFTV has learned.
Ibragim Todashev, who was shot and killed at the Windhover condominium complex early Wednesday morning near Kirkman Avenue and Vineland Road, was "about to sign a statement" admitting to a role, along with Boston Marathon bombing suspect Tamerlan Tsarnaev, in an unsolved triple murder in Massachusetts in 2011, two people with direct knowledge of the case told ABC News.
Todashev "just went crazy" and pulled a knife during his interview with the FBI, said state and federal law enforcement officials.
In a statement, FBI spokesman Paul Bresson said the FBI agent who shot Todashev acted on an imminent threat.
Channel 9 learned Todashev stabbed the FBI agent twice before he was shot. The agent was transported to a hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.
Officials said the three victims in the 2011 triple slaying, Erik Weissman, 31, Raphael Teken, 37, and Brendan Mess, were found with their throats slit and their bodies covered with marijuana.
In the wake of the marathon bombings, authorities in Boston began to probe a link between Tamerlan Tsarnaev and Mess.
Tsarnaev and Mess were once roommates and trained together in boxing and martial arts, authorities said.
In the meantime, an FBI team was dispatched from Washington to Orlando to review Todashev's killing, a standard procedure in such incidents.
Todashev's friend, Khusen Taramov, told WFTV that Todashev wanted to fly home to Chechnya, but authorities asked him to stay for one last interview about the Boston bombing.
"He had a ticket from New York, (and) from there, he was going to go back home. They were pushing him, saying, 'Stay, don't leave.' They said, 'We want to interview you one last time and talk to you a last time.' And he decided to stay, and today's interview was supposed to be the last time, and they said they were going to leave him alone," said Taramov.
"Do you think he would have prompted some kind of a shooting incident?" asked Channel 9's Steve Barrett.
"No, there is no way. I know that for sure. All he wanted was to talk to them so they could leave him alone," said Taramov.
Taramov said Todashev knew the Tsarnaev brothers in Boston. He said Todashev had talked to Tamerlan Tsarnaev a month before the bombings.
"(Todashev) was so afraid, like he knows he's going to be shot," said Taramov. "He told me, worst-case scenario, he told me, 'Forgive me ... for a lot of stuff.'"
Authorities said Tamerlan Tsarnaev, 26, and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, 19, were behind the deadly Boston marathon terror attacks in April.
Tamerlan, whom authorities have described as the driving force behind the plot, was killed in a shootout with police. Dzhokhar was hospitalized with injuries sustained during a getaway attempt.
"FBI started following (Todashev), asking questions, 'Why you guys, what kind of connection do you have with them?' Trying to make the connection between them, you know what I mean. But there's no connection. There's no connection. I know that for sure," said Taramov.
Taramov said that as soon as the Tsarnaev brothers were identified as suspects in the Boston bombings, Todashev was on the FBI's radar.
"And they contacted him. Pretty much stole him from his house, they came to his house with the guns armed and they took him," Taramov said.
Taramov said both men were questioned because of their connections to each other and their mutual homeland of Chechnya.
Even before his encounter with the FBI, Todashev, a mixed martial arts fighter, had a recent run-in with law enforcement.
He was arrested earlier this month on a charge of aggravated battery after getting into a fight with a 54-year-old man and his 35-year-old son over a parking spot at an Orlando shopping mall.
The 35-year-old man was hospitalized with a split upper lip and several teeth knocked out, according to a report from the Orange County Sheriff's Office.
"Also, by his own admission, Todashev was recently a former mixed martial arts fighter," the arresting deputy said in his report. "This skill puts his fighting ability way above that of a normal person."
Todashev was released on $3,500 bond after his May 4 arrest. His attorney, Alain Rivas, didn't immediately respond to a phone inquiry Wednesday.
Nearly 24 hours after the violent confrontation, flashing lights, crime scene tape and cop cars still cover the scene Wednesday night.
Todashev's friends said the FBI would follow Todashev and his friends around for days on end, and at one point, even questioned him for five hours straight
"They saw, in Ibragim's phone, my number. My number, his numbers, all our numbers. And they started following us too," said Todashev's friend.
Friends said Todashev had just bought a ticket home to Chechnya and investigators were watching him like a hawk.
"When Ibragim was nearby ... three to five cars and we knew it. Every time we go somewhere, they follow us," said Todashev's friend.
WFTV.com will have continuing updates and instant breaking details on Eyewitness News.
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