Man shot by police was being followed by FBI terrorism task force

A BPD handout photo of the knife the suspect was accused of wielding when he was shot this morning.
The knife the suspect was wielding when he was shot this morning. –Barry Chin/Globe Staff

This much is certain: The man was being followed.

Before an FBI agent and Boston police officer shot and killed him Tuesday morning outside a Roslindale CVS, he was being watched 24 hours a day by an FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force.

Why Usaama Rahim, a 26-year-old Roslindale resident, was being followed? And for how long? These questions remain unclear.

What transpired in the moments before his death? It depends on whom you ask—although officials said video of the confrontation exists.

Boston Police Commissioner William Evans said at a Tuesday press conference that Rahim “was wanted for some terrorist info we had received,’’ but did not have a warrant out for his arrest.


“There was a level of alarm that brought us to question him today,’’ he said.

Evans said as members of the task force, without their guns drawn, attempted to question Rahim in the parking lot, Rahim pulled out a large knife and moved toward them in a threatening manner. After Rahim continued forward and ignored repeated commands to drop the weapon, officers, who had been retreating, opened fire, striking Rahim twice, according to Evans.

“Unfortunately, he came at the officers,’’ Evans said, “and they did what they were trained to do. Unfortunately, they had to take a life.’’

Rahim was pronounced dead at Brigham and Women’s Hospital.

Evans and Suffolk County District Attorney Daniel Conley said video from a nearby business and eye-witness accounts appear to back up this version of events. However, Conley said his office and the FBI will investigate the use of deadly force.

Shortly after the shooting, a man identifying himself as Ibrahim Rahim, the brother of the deceased, posted a drastically different account on Facebook:

Your prayers are requested:

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!

While at the hospital, Usaama Rahim died!

From Allah we come, and to Allah we return.

Imam Ibrahim Rahim

Hours later, Ibrahim Rahim posted again:

“We are deeply grieved by the loss of my younger brother. While we understand the need for information. We ask that the press give us time to grieve. We will have a statement once we have met as a family.’’

Imam Ibrahim Rahim

On Tuesday, authorities arrested an Everett man in connection with the shooting, Christina DiIorio-Sterling, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Attorney’s office, told The Boston Globe. Law enforcement officials also searched a property in Roslindale and in Warwick, Rhode Island.


Vincent Lisi, the head of the FBI’s Boston office, said there was no concern for public safety. He refused to comment on the investigation into Rahim.

The video of the incident will be shown to clerical, civil rights, and community leaders on Wednesday morning, according to Conley’s spokesman, Jake Wark, and a decision on releasing the video to the public could be made “in the coming days.’’

Conley said after the investigation into the incident is completed, the entire investigative file will be made public.

Photos: Police-involved shooting in Roslindale

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