“Man shot in Roslindale was under 24-hour surveillance,” by Evan Allen, Laura Crimaldi, John R. Ellement and Martin Finucane, Boston Globe, June 2, 2015 (thanks to Anne Crockett):
A man under 24-hour surveillance by anti-terrorism investigators was shot and fatally wounded by a Boston police officer and an FBI agent Tuesday morning as he threatened them with a large, military knife, authorities said.
Usaama Rahim, 26, attacked after he was approached in Boston’s Roslindale neighborhood as part of an “investigation that’s been going on for some time by the Joint Terrorism Task Force,” Police Commissioner William B. Evans said at a news conference Tuesday afternoon.
“We believed he was a threat,” Evans said. “He was someone we were watching for quite a time. The level of alarm brought us to question him today. I don’t think anybody expected the reaction we got out of him.”
Rahim had been making threats against law enforcement, according to law enforcement officials briefed on the investigation.
Evans said officers retreated when Rahim approached them with the knife. With their lives in danger, the officers fired, hitting Rahim with two bullets, one to the torso and one to the abdomen, he said.
The man shot when he approached the officer and FBI agent with a machete and refused to back down, officials said.
Vincent Lisi, head of the Boston FBI office, would not disclose any specifics of why Rahim was being investigated.
He said, “I can tell you that our investigation is still ongoing. There’s a lot more for us to do.” He would not comment on whether other people are being looked at in the investigation, but he said, “I don’t think there’s any concern for public safety right now.”
Suffolk District Attorney Daniel F. Conley said his office would investigate to determine whether the officer and agent were justified in using deadly force. While stressing that no final conclusion has been reached yet, Conley said the incident was captured by surveillance video, which appeared to show Rahim was the aggressor.
The law enforcement officials had their weapons holstered when they first approached Rahim and only pulled their guns when he brandished the knife, Conley said.
“The officers approached this individual without their firearms drawn,’’ Conley said. “It was this deceased person who drew that knife. It appears [law enforcement officials were] backing away before they exercised deadly force.’’
At the news conference, Evans displayed a large photograph of the long, deadly-looking knife allegedly used by Rahim. The picture appeared to show a large black combat knife with a blade 7 inches long. Including the handle, the knife appeared to be about a foot long.
Lieutenant Detective Michael McCarthy, a Boston police spokesman, said the suspect got so close to the officers they needed to defend themselves. He said officers have to protect themselves if an armed suspect approaches within 21 feet.
Police said that the deadly encounter happened near the CVS parking lot on Washington Street at 6:59 a.m.
Rahim was rushed to Brigham and Women’s Hospital, where he was later pronounced dead, police said.
The officer and the agent were taken to Boston hospitals to be examined for stress, but they did not suffer physical injuries, police said.
Investigators searched an apartment building Tuesday on nearby Blue Ledge Drive as part of their investigation, but officials would not say how it was connected to the incident.
In another development, Everett police were assisting the FBI with an investigation in that city, police said. Authorities said the activity was related to the Roslindale investigation.
Everett Police Lieutenant Frank Hoenig said local police were in a support role.
He described the location federal authorities were targeting as a duplex. Hoenig said the residence was known to Everett police.“[Officers have] been there for a whole litany of things” but never for a terrorism-related investigation, he said.
Investigators were also searching a property in Warwick, R.I., according to a law enforcement official briefed on the investigation.
A woman who said she was acquainted with Rahim and his wife, said, “He and his wife, they are good people. They definitely kept to themselves.”
The woman, who said she did not want to give her name because she did not know the couple that well, said in a telephone interview that she had met the couple at the Islamic Society of Boston in Roxbury. “There is nothing that I can think [of] that warrants him being investigated or followed at 7 o’clock in the morning,” she said.
Yusufi Vali, executive director of the Islamic Society of Boston, said in an interview at the mosque that he did not recall ever meeting Rahim.
He said thousands of visitors walk through the mosque every week, and since Rahim lived in Roslindale, it is possible that he came in at some point. However, Vali said, “he never prayed here regularly, nor volunteered here, nor was in any leadership positions.”
Before officials publicly identified Rahim, his older brother, Imam Ibrahim Rahim, used social media to announce his younger brother’s death.
The elder Rahim offered a version of the story that was at odds with the official version. He said his brother had been approached by three Boston officers. He also said his brother was shot three times in the back.
He said his brother had been waiting at a bus stop to go to his job and had called their father on his cellphone so he could be a witness to the confrontation.
“He was on his cell phone with my dear father during the confrontation needing a witness. His last words to my father who heard the shots were: I can’t breathe!’’ Rahim wrote….