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Happytown: Ibragim Todashev who?

Shooting of man tied to Boston bombing suspect Tamerlan Tsarnaev puts Orlando in national spotlight

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CHECHEN OUT

It’s been a solid six weeks since bombs busted up the Boston Marathon finish line, injuring 264 and killing three. While the ADHD-tinted glasses of the feverish world outside Boston city limits have moved on to more sensational stories, a piece of the puzzle came home to roost in Orlando.

May 22 spelled curtains for 27-year-old Ibragim Todashev, when he was shot after flipping out on an FBI agent during questioning in connection with the attack in Boston. Todashev was friendly with bombing suspect Tamerlan Tsarnaev from the MMA gym in Boston where they both worked out – friendly enough that Todashev had Tsarnaev’s number in his phone.

In a condo near Universal Studios, after Todashev reportedly confessed involvement in a gruesome triple homicide in Boston in 2011 to FBI agents and Massachusetts state police – the same murders in which Tamerlan Tsarnaev had been previously implicated – it got ugly when Todashev freaked out, pulled a knife, and attacked one of the agents who shot him in self-defense.

“We heard gunshots at about 1 a.m.,” says neighbor Ashley Elliott, who lives two doors down from the condo where Todashev was shot. “We didn’t think anything of it because the fireworks at Universal sound just like that. I didn’t realize anything major had happened until I woke up in the morning.”

Neighbors and friends described Todashev as a quiet, polite person who played basketball with the kids in the Kissimmee neighborhood where he lived with two other guys. About a year ago, he worked out for a couple of months at the Jungle, an MMA gym on Colonial Drive (right next to Happytown HQ!). He fought competitively, too, going 5 and 2 in amateur fights and winning his first pro fight. John Morehouse, sales manager at the gym, characterized Todashev as a loner who just came into the gym and left without staying to shoot the shit with other fighters after workouts.

The FBI had been keeping tabs on Todashev for a few weeks prior to the shooting, but no one seemed to have any inkling of suspicious activity. Todashev had plans to head back to Chechnya at the end of the month, but postponed them to get loose ends tied up with the FBI before exiting the country. Instead, his death opened up even more questions, and has given Florida another direct link to the fires of hell. Thanks for that!

UPDATE: The Council on American-Islamic Relations held a press conference on May 29, demanding that the U.S. DOJ investigate the shooting. Todashev's wife and friend say he was not armed when FBI agents shot him. For more, click here.

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