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Man Linked to Boston Bomber Killed by FBI

The man reportedly confessed to a 2011 triple homicide

Adam Chandler
May 22, 2013

In the aftermath of the Boston Marathon bombing, focus was drawn to an unsolved, grisly triple homicide that took place in 2011. The three men killed were Brendan Mess, a friend of deceased Boston bombing suspect Tamerlan Tsarnaev, and two of Mess’s friends, Raphael Teken and Erik Weissman.

As we noted earlier this month “the details of the unsolved 2011 slaying have the florid hallmarks of a tabloid splash: the three victims–two of whom (Erik Weissman and Raphael Teken) were Jewish–were believed to be have been killed in extraordinarily gruesome fashion on September 11, 2011 in Waltham, Massachusetts.”

Evidence mounted linking one and then both of the Boston Marathon bombing suspects to the murders, but a developing story today is complicating that narrative. Earlier this morning, 27-year-old Ibragim Todashev, a Chechan man linked to Tamerlan Tsarnaev was shot and killed by the FBI in Orlando, Florida. Initial details about the incident were vague, but the FBI has now released a statement:

The FBI is currently reviewing a shooting incident involving an FBI special agent. Based on preliminary information, the incident occurred in Orlando, Florida during the early morning hours of May 22, 2013. The agent, two Massachusetts State Police troopers, and other law enforcement personnel were interviewing an individual in connection with the Boston Marathon bombing investigation when a violent confrontation was initiated by the individual. During the confrontation, the individual was killed and the agent sustained non-life threatening injuries. As this incident is under review, we have no further details at this time.

Shortly after that NBC reported that Todashev was said to have confessed his role in the triple homicide before his death this morning.

Todashev, they say, had spent some time in the Boston area, where he was a mixed martial arts fighter, and knew Tsarnaev there. Investigators say he confessed to the agent in Florida that he played a role in a triple murder in 2011 in which three men were discovered slain in an apartment in Waltham, Mass.

Their throats had been cut, and their bodies were covered with marijuana. No suspects had been arrested in that case.

Officials say FBI agents were questioning Todashev on Tuesday. He was cooperative at first, they say, but later that night, he attacked the agent with a knife, who shot and killed him. Officials say Todashev became violent as he was about to sign a written statement based on his confession.

Adam Chandler was previously a staff writer at Tablet. His work has appeared in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Atlantic, Slate, Esquire, New York, and elsewhere. He tweets @allmychandler.