US & Canada

US police kill man who was being tracked in terror case

Investigators inspect the crime scene Image copyright AP
Image caption Investigators from the FBI and Boston police inspect the crime scene

Boston police have shot and killed a man who was under surveillance as part of a counter-terrorism case.

Police say he attacked officers with a large knife after being approached by a Boston police officer and an FBI agent.

The shooting took place early on Tuesday morning outside a CVS pharmacy in the residential Roslindale neighbourhood of Boston.

Officials say the man, identified as 26-year-old Usaama Rahim, had been under 24 hour surveillance.

Police and FBI officials would not comment on any ties to Islamic extremism, or whether Mr Rahim had been planning a terrorist act.

Boston Police Commissioner William B. Evans described the man as "known suspect wanted for some terrorist-related information", but he said there was no warrant for his arrest.

Officers approached the man without drawing their guns intending to interview him on the street, officials said.

They did not intend to take him into custody at that time, although officials acknowledge he was considered a threat to the public.

"He's someone we were watching for quite a time... and so that level of alarm brought us to question him today," Mr Evans said.

"I don't think anyone expected the reaction we were going to get out of him today, and that's why we had the tragic turnout here."

'Waiting for a bus'

Iman Ibrahim Rahim, a religious leader in San Francisco, had posted to his Facebook page saying his brother was shot in the back while waiting for a bus to bring him to his job, contradicting police reports.

"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," Iman Rahim wrote.

Iman Rahim says his brother was speaking on the phone with his father when he was shot.

"His last words to my father who heard the shots were: I can't breathe!"

Image copyright AP

Officials say the man refused multiple orders to drop his weapon before charging at the officers.

"Our officers tried their best to get him to put down the knife,'' Mr Evans told the Boston Globe newspaper.

"Unfortunately, they had to take a life.''

Police say witnesses and video confirm that the officers were retreating when they each fired shots at Rahim, who was wielding a "military style knife".

The suspect was taken to hospital where he was pronounced dead from at least two gunshot wounds.

The two officers are in hospital to be examined for stress, but did not suffer physical injuries, police said.

An investigation will be conducted by Boston Police and the FBI to determine if the shooting was justified.

A home in the nearby town of Everett was being searched in connection with the case.

Officials say there is no threat to public safety.