GROZNY, Russia - The father of a Chechen immigrant shot dead by U.S. law enforcement agents while being questioned about his ties to a Boston Marathon bombing suspect said Thursday that he regrets allowing his son to go to the United States.
Ibragim Todashev, 27, was a martial-arts fighter who had trained with Tamerlan Tsarnaev in Boston, and his father said they had bonded because of their shared interests and heritage as Chechens from southern Russia. Tsarnaev, 26, was killed in a shootout with police days after the April 15 terrorist attack.
Todashev was killed Wednesday after an altercation with an FBI agent during a meeting with the agent and two Massachusetts state troopers at his home in central Florida.
Abdul-Baki Todashev told the AP that his son - the second of 12 children - was in college when he got an opportunity to go to the United States to study English five or six years ago. He said he later agreed to his son's request to remain in the U.S. "because it seemed like the safest country."
Chechnya has been ravaged by two wars between separatist fighters and Russian federal troops since 1994, and remains troubled by periodic outbreaks of violence. The family's brick house on the outskirts of Grozny, the Chechen capital, still bears the marks of shrapnel.
The elder Todashev said his son gave up martial arts because of an injury and later held a number of jobs, including as a driver at a retirement home, before moving to Florida within the last year. His father said his son had planned to come to Chechnya this week to visit his extended family, but was asked by the FBI to delay his trip.
The FBI gave no details of why it was interested in Ibragim Todashev except to say that he was being questioned as part of the Boston investigation.
Abdul-Baki Todashev said he had learned of his son's death in a phone call from one of his son's friends, who also had been questioned by the FBI.