On Tuesday, a man under 24-hour surveillance for alleged links to a terrorist organization was fatally shot after he charged at a police officer and a Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) agent wielding a knife. The incident occurred outside a pharmacy.
Police Commissioner Williams Evans said that Usaama Rahim was approached by the Joint Terrorism Task Force who wanted to question him regarding “terrorist-related information” in the city’s Roslindale neighborhood. It was then that Rahim advanced at the officers with a large military-style knife, as reported by TIME.
Rahim, 26, was ordered to drop the weapon several times, but refused the instructions and continued moving towards them. The officers subsequently drew their weapons out and shot him twice, in the abdomen and torso. He was taken to the hospital, where he was pronounced dead, the police said.
Surveillance video and statements gathered from witnesses suggest that the officers’ “lives were in danger,” Evans said. The shooting incident will be looked into by the Suffolk district attorney’s office and the FBI.
Although Evans did not disclose why Rahim had been kept under constant surveillance, there was a “level of alarm” that had urged authorities to question him.
Evans said, “Obviously, there was enough information there where we thought it was appropriate to question him about his doings. He was someone we were watching for quite a time.”
According to NBC News, a senior official of the Boston Joint Terrorism Task Force said there were suspicions that the 26-year-old individual from Boston had become radicalized by ISIS-inspired social media messages, and that a potential terror plot was underway.
The investigation of the incident will also be monitored by the Council of American-Islamic Relations, spokesman Ibrahim Hooper said.
Hooper said, “We have a number of questions. Why exactly was he being followed? What was the probable cause for this particular stop? Were there any video cameras or body cameras of the incident? How do you reconcile the two versions of the story, the family version being that he was on his normal commute to work at a bus stop?”
According to Yahoo News, Rahim worked as a security guard at the Islamic Society of Boston Cultural Center for a month in mid-2013. He neither prayed regularly nor did he volunteer for or took up any leadership positions, executive director Yusufi Vali said.
Although the officers involved in the incident didn’t sustain any physical injuries, they were taken to the hospital and evaluated. Evans said that the officers were stressed as a result of the shooting.
Vincent Lisi, special agent who is in charge of the Boston FBI office, was quoted saying that there was no “concern for public safety out there right now.”
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