Was Usaama Rahim A Terrorist? Officials Claim The Man Shot By Boston Police Was Involved In A Large Terror Network
A 26-year-old man was shot and killed by Boston Police and the FBI on Tuesday, after authorities alleged that he had threatened them with a large "military-style" knife. According to his brother, the man had been on the phone with his father when police shot him in the back three times during the confrontation. Officials involved with the case, however, claimed that Usaama Rahim had been involved with a terrorist network and had posted several aggressive threats directed toward police on his social media pages, leading investigators to track him down and approach him Tuesday.
As of Tuesday evening, details surrounding the ongoing investigation into Rahim's alleged terror connections had not been released. Bustle has reached out to both the local FBI field office in Boston and Rahim's family and is awaiting a response.
Following the shooting, the FBI confirmed that Rahim had been under consistent 24-hour surveillance for some time. "He was someone we were watching for quite a time," said Boston Police Commissioner William B. Evans in a news conference on Tuesday. "I don’t think anybody expected the reaction we got out of him."
According to Evans and Suffolk District Attorney Daniel F. Conley, officers first approached Rahim with their weapons holstered before Rahim allegedly pulled the knife out, causing the officers to retreat and draw their sidearms in self-defense.
"The officers approached this individual without their firearms drawn," said Conley, in a statement to reporters, claiming that the officers had called out for Rahim to drop the weapon several times. "It appears [law enforcement officials were] backing away before they exercised deadly force." Rahim was taken to a nearby hospital where he died a short while later.
Authorities have since revealed that the investigation into Rahim had been conducted by the Joint Terrorism Task Force and that two other individuals had also been under investigation for possible ties to ISIS extremists, an unnamed law enforcement official told CNN. Officers on the case had followed him to a CVS pharmacy around 7 a.m. on Tuesday morning, hoping to confront him about his social media posts, added Evans.
Rahim's family and friends told a different story, claiming that he and his wife were upstanding citizens. Evans claimed that the officers had done their best to avoid a violent confrontation. "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," said Evans at Tuesday's news conference.
According to a report by the Associated Press, Rahim's voter registration records listed him as a student and that, as recently as two years ago, he had been working in Miami, Florida, as a security officer. A raid on an Everett, Massachusetts, apartment, just outside of Boston, was conducted in the hours after the police shooting in connection with the shooting, said Evans.
Rahim's brother Ibrahim, a former assistant imam, wrote a differing account of Tuesday's events on his personal Facebook page:
This morning while at the bus stop in Boston, my youngest brother Usaama Rahim was waiting for the bus to go to his job. He was confronted by three Boston Police officers and subsequently shot in the back three times. 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!
Ibrahim Rahim's account was not immediately confirmed by authorities on the scene.