ORLANDO -- A man with ties to the Boston Marathon bombing suspect Tamerlan Tsarnaev was shot and killed by an FBI agent while being questioned in Florida, law enforcement officials said on Wednesday.
The man who was shot, Ibragim Todashev, 27, was not suspected of having played any role in the bombing that killed three people and injured scores more in April, they said.
Instead, law enforcement officials said Todashev was being questioned as part of the FBI’s effort to find and talk to anyone who had any contact with Tsarnaev, the older bombing suspect.
Todashev, they say, had spent some time in the Boston area, where he was a cage fighter, and knew Tsarnaev there. Investigators were also looking at whether Todashev might have had any role in a triple murder in 2011, in which three men were murdered in an apartment in Waltham, Mass.
Their throats had been cut, and their bodies were covered with marijuana. No suspects have been arrested in that case.
Officials say FBI agents were questioning Todashev on Tuesday. He was cooperative at first, they say, but late Tuesday night, he attacked the agent, who shot and killed him.
Two law enforcement officials, speaking on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to release details of the investigation, said Todashev came at the FBI agent with a knife before he was shot. The FBI initially said the agent fired the fatal shot, but later in the day the bureau left open the question of who was responsible.
The officials say Todashev had some connections with radical Chechen rebels, but they say it's not clear whether he had any role in radicalizing Tsarnaev.
“We are currently responding to a shooting incident involving an FBI special agent,” FBI Special Agent Dave Couvertier said in a statement to NBC News.
“The incident occurred in Orlando, Florida. The agent encountered the suspect while conducting official duties,” Couvertier said. “We do not have any further details at this time. We expect to have more information later this morning.”
A spokesman for the Orlando Police Department referred all questions to the FBI.
An FBI incident review team was dispatched from Washington, D.C., and was expected to arrive in Orlando within 24 hours, Couvertier said on Wednesday morning.
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 over a parking spot 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.
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.
Muslin Chapkhanov, a former roommate of Todashev's in the Orlando suburb of Kissimmee, said Todashev knew the older Tsarnaev brother. "He was living in Boston and I think he trained with him," Chapkhanov told The Associated Press.
Saeed Dunkaev, a roommate of Todashev's, said Todashev had lived off and on with a group of other Chechens in a townhouse in Kissimmee.
"He's a regular guy, nothing wrong," Dunkaev said.
The Tsarnaev brothers have roots in the turbulent Russian regions of Dagestan and Chechnya, which have become recruiting grounds for Islamic extremism. Investigators have said the Boston bombing was retaliation for the U.S. wars in Muslim Iraq and Afghanistan.
Another Todashev roommate, Khusen Tamarov, said the roommates were questioned by authorities Tuesday night. Todashev was afraid of being interrogated at a law enforcement office and had asked that the questioning take place someplace else, Tamarov said.
"This is the last thing I thought they would do," Tamarov said. "We had nothing to do with this. He had nothing to do with this."
Police tape blocked off the complex of townhomes near Universal Studios where Todashev was shot.
Jared Morse, who lives in the next building from Todashev's unit, said he had been watching an NBA game when he heard loud bangs that sounded like gunfire.
"It's crazy, especially in this neighborhood," Morse said as he walked his dog. "Nothing like this ever happens here."