Usaama Rahim, Terror Suspect Shot Dead in Boston, Was Plotting to Behead Police Officers

Everett, Mass, police officers and the state police worked with  federal authorities in an investigation into David Wright, who was arrested on Tuesday. (Dominick Reuter/European Pressphoto Agency)
Everett, Mass, police officers and the state police worked with federal authorities in an investigation into David Wright, who was arrested on Tuesday. (Dominick Reuter/European Pressphoto Agency)

The man shot and killed by an F.B.I. agent and a Boston police officer Tuesday had been under surveillance by terrorism investigators because he was planning to behead a police officer, the authorities say.

The man, Usaama Rahim, 26, was approached by officers outside a CVS pharmacy in the city’s Roslindale neighborhood around 7 a.m. Officials said that after the officers identified themselves, Mr. Rahim confronted them with a large military-style knife and the two officers opened fire.

The shooting was an unexpected episode in the middle of a larger terrorism investigation into what officials have described as a credible threat with possible links to several people.

Late Tuesday, a resident of a Boston suburb who an acquaintance said was a cousin of Mr. Rahim’s was arrested as a part of a terrorism investigation, federal prosecutors said Wednesday. The man, David Wright, was taken into custody in Everett and was to appear in federal court on Wednesday afternoon, said Christina DiIorio-Sterling, a spokesman for Carmen M. Ortiz, the United States attorney in Boston. The charges against him were not immediately announced.

Neighbors described Mr. Wright as a large, quiet man who weighed as much as 400 pounds. Witnesses said the police had to use leg irons to restrain him when he was arrested.

A law enforcement official speaking on background said that Mr. Rahim had become radicalized by militant Islam social media sites and that he had planned to behead a law enforcement officer. Mr. Rahim posed an “imminent threat” on the morning he was confronted, the official said.

On Wednesday, the chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, Representative Michael McCaul, Republican of Texas, said at a hearing that Mr. Rahim had been under investigation because he was “communicating with and spreading ISIS propaganda online.”

“These cases are a reminder of the dangers posed by individuals radicalized through social media,” Mr. McCaul said.

Mr. Rahim’s relatives had initially said that he was shot in the back, arguing that the shooting was unjustified.

But at a news conference held by the Boston police Wednesday afternoon after they showed a surveillance video of the shooting to a group of clergy members and community leaders, Darnell Williams, head of the Urban League of Eastern Massachusetts, said he could “150 percent corroborate” the police account that Mr. Rahim had menaced the officers with a knife before he was shot. He discounted an account posted online by Mr. Rahim’s family that claimed he had been shot in the back while on a cellphone.

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SOURCE: DAVE PHILIPPS and JESS BIDGOOD
The New York Times

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