Authorities in Massachusetts arrested a man in connection with a counterterror investigation late Tuesday, hours after another man under surveillance by the Joint Terrorism Task Force was shot and killed after he refused to put down a military-style knife while approaching two officers.
Authorities identified the deceased man as 26-year-old Usaama Rahim, who was shot outside a CVS Pharmacy in Roslindale, Mass. at approximately 7 a.m. local time Tuesday. A law enforcement official with knowledge of the case told the Associated Press that Rahim had been making threats against law enforcement personnel.
Boston Police Commissioner William Evans told reporters that members of the Joint Terrorism Task Force approached Rahim to question him about "terrorist-related information" they had received when he moved toward officers with the knife.
Evans said officers repeatedly ordered Rahim to drop the knife but he continued to advance. He said task force members fired their guns, hitting Rahim once in the torso and once in the abdomen. Rahim was taken to Brigham and Women's Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
WFXT reported that three different Joint Terrorism Task Force teams had been carrying out 24-hour surveillance on at least three different people in the Boston area, though it was unclear how long that had been going on. One source told the station that they had been investigating an "active plot" centered around harming law enforcement officials, although it is unclear if it was operational. The plot may have been inspired by the terror group ISIS, who have repeatedly called on followers in the United States to attack law enforcement officials or military installations.
Vincent Lisi, special agent in charge of the Boston FBI office, said authorities "don't think there's any concern for public safety out there right now."
Evans did not comment on the report that Rahim had been radicalized by ISIS, but 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."
Evans later said authorities knew Rahim "had some extremism as far as his views."
Evans said the officers didn't have their guns drawn when they approached Rahim. He said police have video showing Rahim "coming at officers" while they are backing away. That account differs from one given by Rahim's brother Ibrahim Rahim, who said in a Facebook posting that his youngest brother was killed while waiting at a bus stop to go to his job.
"He was confronted by three Boston Police officers and subsequently shot in the back three times," he wrote. "He was on his cellphone with my dear father during the confrontation needing a witness."
The officer and the agent involved in the shooting weren't physically injured but were evaluated at a hospital for what Evans described as "stress."
WFXT reported that Rahim worked in loss prevention at several CVS stores in the Boston area. However, it was not clear that the store where he was killed was among them. Boston voter registration records seen by the Associated Press list Rahim as a student. Other records indicate that as recently as two years ago he was licensed as a security officer in Miami, but don't specify in what capacity.
The Islamic Society of Boston Cultural Center said its security firm hired Rahim as a security guard for a month in mid-2013. Executive director Yusufi Vali said Rahim didn't regularly pray at the center and didn't volunteer there or serve in any leadership positions.
Later Tuesday, the FBI and local police arrested a man at a home in Everett, Mass., in an action authorities said was related to the Roslindale shooting. Christina Diorio-Sterling, a spokeswoman for U.S. Attorney Carmen Ortiz, said David Wright was taken into custody from his home in suburban Everett. She said Wright will face federal charges and is expected to appear in U.S. District Court on Wednesday.
The Boston Globe reported, citing a law enforcement official with knowledge of the case, that the charges against Wright will related to an alleged plot to kill a member of law enforcement.
The FBI and Rhode Island State Police also searched a property in Warwick, R.I. in relation to the Roslindale shooting. Police sealed off a street, requiring anyone who lived there to show identification to pass the police cordon, but it was not clear if they had anyone in custody.
A 17-year-old told the Boston Globe that police had asked him about a neighbor in his mid-20s named Nick. The teen told the paper Nick often wears long robes and prays in his front yard.
The Muslim lovers of the Associated Press contributed very little to this report.