Other than his surreal death, there is little public information about Usaama Rahim, the 26-year-old Muslim man, who was shot and killed on a Boston street on Tuesday morning.
Authorities say Rahim was wielding a military-style knife with an eight-inch blade when he was confronted outside a CVS in Roslindale by law-enforcement officials, who were said to be surveilling him around the clock. An official told The New York Times that Rahim had been radicalized, posed an “imminent threat,” and, more specifically, had sought to behead a police officer. (This statement was slightly undercut by FBI officials who told reporters on Tuesday that Rahim had been a threat, but not a “concern for public safety.”)
Officers reportedly approached Rahim without drawing their firearms. They called on him to drop his weapon, and then backed up 15 to 20 yards, before opening fire. “Unfortunately, we had to take his life,” said Boston Police Commissioner William Evans.
Rahim’s older brother disputed the account, writing on Facebook that his brother had merely been waiting for a bus to go to work.
He was confronted by three Boston Police officers and subsequently shot in the back three times. He was on his cellphone with my dear father during the confrontation needing a witness.
The elder Rahim relayed that his brother’s final words were “I can’t breathe.” This report, along the shocking nature of the incident, invited some criticism of law-enforcement procedure and the media’s coverage of the events.