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Promising "unparalleled transparency" in the investigation of last week's killing of a terror suspect, Boston's top prosecutor released a video Monday that captured the fatal encounter with police and FBI agents.
The footage, taken by a surveillance camera outside a Burger King about 50 yards away, shows a figure, identified by authorities as Usaamah Rahim, as he is confronted at a bus stop by five FBI agents and a Boston police officer who were following him. They had been looking into whether Rahim was planning to attack cops.
Authorities have said the agents and officer wanted to question Rahim — not necessarily take him into custody — and that the 26-year-old suspect brandished a military-style knife, making them fear for their lives.
The video, released without audio, may be too grainy to answer many lingering questions about the authorities' approach — and Rahim's response. But the video shows that within seconds of approaching Rahim, the agents and officer appear to grow increasingly tense, surrounding him before two of them fire the fatal shots from a distance of a few feet.
Rahim was hit in the abdomen and torso and was pronounced dead at a hospital.
The video shows Rahim collapsing to the pavement, and the agents and officer keeping their guns drawn as they check him.
Suffolk County District Attorney Daniel Conley showed the video during a Monday news conference in an attempt to answer public criticism about the June 2 shooting. The unusual decision followed a private viewing with Rahim's family last week.
According to the FBI and other law enforcement officials, Wright and Rahim initially targeted Pamela Geller, the host of a "Draw Muhammad" contest last month in Garland, Texas, that ended with police killing two gunmen.
Instead, Rahim decided to target police officers, the FBI said.
Rahim's mother said last week that her son was not a terrorist and carried a knife because he felt threatened.
The family's lawyer, Ronald S. Sullivan, has said it appeared that the officers stopped and detained Rahim without a warrant. "The surveillance tape alone does not resolve these and other issues," Sullivan said last week.
Conley cautioned that the video was "but one piece of evidence among many" and that the investigation was far from completed.
Vincent Lisi, the head of the FBI's Boston office, said Rahim had been under 24-hour surveillance by agents who on the day of the shooting intercepted communications that indicated that he was going to carry out an attack that day.
The agents and officer followed Rahim from his home to the bus stop, Lisi said.
The FBI has started a separate investigation of the shooting, Lisi said.
Boston Police Commissioner William Evans said he believed the shooting appeared justified. "There were multiple, multiple requests for him to put down that weapon," Evans said.
Police have arrested a friend of Rahim's 24-year-old David Wright, on charges of conspiring with Rahim to destroy evidence of their alleged plot.