Man, part of terror network, fatally shot by officers in Boston
BOSTON — A Boston man whom police fatally shot after waving a knife at officers was not on the phone at the time of the shooting and was not shot in the back, as reported by the suspect’s brother, according to clergy members who met with authorities Wednesday to watch surveillance video of the incident.
Police killed the alleged terror suspect on a Boston street Tuesday, officials said. Video purportedly shows Usaama Rahim, 26, wielding a large military-style knife.
Boston clergy and civil rights advocates met Wednesday with authorities to watch surveillance video of the shooting and killing of a man who police say waved a knife at officers.
The video won’t be released to the public this week, according to the Suffolk County district attorney.
Anti-terrorism authorities had Rahim under 24-hour surveillance, said Vincent B. Lisi, FBI special agent in charge, on Tuesday.
Later Tuesday, authorities arrested a second man in connection with the case. The U.S. attorney’s office in Boston identified the man as David Wright. He will appear Wednesday in federal court in Boston, said Christina Sterling, a spokeswoman for the U.S. attorney’s office.
“As of right now, we don’t think there is any concern for public safety,” Lisi said.
Rahim was a subject of a terror investigation involving suspected Islamist extremists, law enforcement sources said.
“We believe he was a threat,” Boston Police Commissioner William Evans said. “He was someone we were watching for quite some time.”
Rahim had been under surveillance by the U.S. Joint Terrorism Task Force, officials said.
Ibrahim Rahim, an imam at the Lighthouse Mosque in Oakland, California, posted about his brother’s death on social media.
Ibrahim Rahim wrote on Facebook that his brother was shot while at a bus stop on his way to work. He asked for prayers for his brother.
In a 2013 interview with CNN, Ibrahim Rahim voiced his objection to presiding over the funeral of Boston Marathon bomber Tamerlan Tsarnaev.
“We don’t want people looking at us as though we are empathetic in any way to what has happened at the hands of this man and his brother,” he said at the time, referring also to Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, later convicted in the bombings.
Ibrahim Rahim said his brother was on the phone with their father Tuesday and was shot three times in the back during the confrontation with police.
In a statement, the Islamic Society of Boston said police have invited Muslim leaders Wednesday to watch surveillance video of the shooting.
“As religious institutions serving the Boston Muslim community, the Islamic Society of Boston (ISB) and Islamic Society of Boston Cultural Center (ISBCC) leadership are saddened to hear of the shooting of Usaama Rahim,” the statement said. “This tragedy has yielded many important questions that merit additional attention, and while we cannot expect all questions to be answered … our hope is that greater clarity and transparency will bring some peace to our congregation and the Boston community at large.”
The Islamic Society of Boston Cultural Center said that it had had a limited relationship with Usaama Rahim. A security firm it uses at the center hired him as a guard for a month in 2013. Rahim did not regularly pray at the center or volunteer or serve in any leadership position, the center said.
The FBI-led task force had been watching Rahim and two associates believed to be radicalized by ISIS and other extremist influences, according to a law enforcement official. Rahim had been monitored for at least a couple of years. Investigators were talking to the associates, and various locations in Massachusetts and Rhode Island were being searched, officials said.
The Rhode Island raid was connected to a third person believed to be associated with David Wright and Usaama Rasim, according to two federal law enforcement sources. The third person was connected by more than just an “internet relationship,” one law enforcement source said. The sources did not provide a name for the individual they were investigating.
The FBI is still investigating whether more people are connected with the three.
The FBI noted a recent change in Rahim’s behavior, including social media threats against police, which prompted agents to try to approach him Tuesday, according to the official.
Evans, the police commissioner, said the shooting occurred about 7 a.m. Tuesday after officers and FBI agents confronted Rahim, who suddenly turned around with a large black knife and lunged at officers and federal agents. The officers had not drawn their weapons at that point.
The officers retreated and ordered the man to put down the weapon before they opened fire, Evans said. The shooting was captured by surveillance video and observed by witnesses.
“Unfortunately, he came at the officers and, you know, they do what they were trained to do and, unfortunately, they had to take a life,” Evans said.
Rahim was struck in the torso and abdomen.
A Boston police officer and a federal agent opened fire on the suspect, Evans said.
The shooting is under investigation.