ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:
There has been an unexpected turn in the Boston Marathon bombing case. A man who was thought to have ties with one of the bombing suspects was shot dead early this morning by authorities in Florida. He allegedly tried to attack an FBI agent who was interviewing him. NPR's Dina Temple-Raston has been following the story and is here with the latest. Hi, Dina.
DINA TEMPLE-RASTON, BYLINE: Hi there.
SIEGEL: And, before you tell us about how the shooting actually took place, what do we know about this man, whether he played any role in the bombing plot?
TEMPLE-RASTON: Well, authorities still think he did play a role in the bombing plot. The man who was killed was Ibragim Todashev. He lived in Orlando, Florida, and apparently was a boxing buddy of Boston Marathon bombing suspect Tamerlan Tsarnaev. This Florida man was 27 years old, and the FBI and state troopers began questioning him late last night about another crime in the Boston area that officials now think might have involved Tamerlan Tsarnaev.
There was a triple murder in Waltham, Massachusetts, on September 11, 2011. Three men were found with their throats slit and with cash and marijuana sprinkled all over the remains, and one of the people who was murdered was a friend of Tsarnaev's. Officials are now working under the theory that Tsarnaev was involved with those killings and this young man, shot by authorities this morning, he was involved with the murders too.
SIEGEL: So that's what they - that's what the authorities believe. They were interviewing him late last night, and then what happened?
TEMPLE-RASTON: Well, it's still under investigation, but law enforcement authorities told us that this young man had been interviewed extensively yesterday about those 2011 murders. And then at midnight last night, sometime after that, he appeared ready to sign a confession.
And then, according to law enforcement officials, he suddenly pulled a knife on an FBI agent and two state troopers who were there, and they responded by shooting him dead. The FBI agent was taken to a nearby hospital, and his hand was stitched up.
SIEGEL: Does this shed any light on the Boston Marathon bombing?
TEMPLE-RASTON: Not really. I mean, authorities are now investigating the triple murders and the marathon bombing together. Apparently, leads in the murder case are providing really good information about Tamerlan Tsarnaev, and authorities think the more they know about him, the more they can pull together clues about the bombing.
Tamerlan's brother, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, is still in the hospital, and apparently he's able to talk a little bit now. Remember, he was shot in the throat. And though he hasn't at this point provided anything of substance for the last couple of weeks.
SIEGEL: Well, are authorities getting any closer to an answer as to whether the two suspects, the Tsarnaev brothers, had any help in launching the bombing?
TEMPLE-RASTON: Well, officials are looking at this as a different model from other terrorism cases. These aren't men who pretended to blend into America so they could launch an attack. These were men who were part of society. They partied. They had lots of friends. One law enforcement official said that this was going to be a long-drawn-out investigation.
Right now, everything points to the Tsarnaev brothers having done this on their own. It maybe there were some local people, friends of theirs who knew what they were planning, but this wasn't some grand plot. At least that's where the evidence is taking officials now.
SIEGEL: OK. Thank you, Dina.
TEMPLE-RASTON: You're welcome.
SIEGEL: That's NPR's Dina Temple-Raston. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.