The FBI has ordered a Florida medical examiner's office not to release its autopsy report of a Chechen man fatally shot by a Boston FBI agent in May, because of the federal agency’s own investigation into his death.
"The FBI has informed this office that the case is still under active investigation and thus not to release the document," Tony Miranda, forensic records coordinator for Orange and Osceola counties in Orlando, said on Tuesday in a letter published by The Boston Globe.
Miranda said that state law barred his office from releasing the report if a criminal investigation was continuing, the Globe reports.
The medical examiner's office said on Tuesday that it had completed the autopsy report on Ibragim Todashev, a friend of deceased Boston Marathon bombing suspect Tamerlan Tsarnaev, on July 8 and that the report was "ready for release."
The agent shot and killed Todashev on May 22 in his Orlando apartment during an interrogation related to the April 15 marathon bombings that killed three people and injured more than 260 others.
The FBI and the Justice Department are investigating the shooting, the Globe reports, but critics have called for an independent inquiry in light of the secrecy surrounding the case.
The FBI and the Massachusetts State Police sought out Todashev after the bombings, but have not released details of his shooting.
Media reports have provided conflicting accounts, with some reporting that Todashev, 27, a mixed martial arts fighter, attacked the agent with a blade during an interrogation.
Other news reports have said that Todashev was unarmed, with others saying that he lunged at the FBI agent with a metal pole or a broomstick, the Globe reports.
The medical examiner's office told the Globe that it would check with the FBI monthly for permission to release the autopsy report, adding that such delays often happen in homicide cases.
According to media reports, Todashev was about to sign a confession implicating himself and Tsarnaev, who was killed in a shootout with police after the bombings, in the 2011 slayings of three men in Waltham, Mass.
But Todashev instead lunged at the agent, who was injured, according to reports. The agent then shot Todashev multiple times, according to family members who have released photos of Todashev’s body in their call for a death investigation, the Globe reports.
Todashev, an ethnic Chechen like Tsarnaev, came to America in 2008 to study English and obtained asylum that year from Russia. He lived in Allston and Cambridge, Mass., before moving to Florida, according to the Globe.
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