A man officials said had planned to behead a police officer was shot and killed in Boston on Tuesday, while an apparent accomplice of his was arrested. David Wright was arrested in Everett, Massachusetts, after Usaama Rahim, holding a large knife, lunged at FBI agents when they tried to detain him at a shopping center.
The Boston Globe quoted an official as saying that “We believe the intent was to behead a police officer. We knew the plot had to be stopped. They were planning to take action Tuesday.” Officials have declined to discuss specifics of the plot, the report said. Wright is set for a court appearance in Boston Wednesday afternoon.
Rahim, said officials, had been under 24-hour surveillance by FBI and security officials, part of an investigation that had been going on for at least several weeks. Officials did not say what Rahim was being investigated for, but in the wake of his shooting, the investigation was widened, leading to the arrest of Wright. Officials have not specified the connection between the two.
“We believed [Rahim] was a threat,” the Globe quoted Boston Police Commissioner William B. Evans as saying. “He was someone we were watching for quite a time. The level of alarm brought us to question him today. I don’t think anybody expected the reaction we got out of him.” Evans added that officers did not have guns drawn when they approached Rahim, who took an 8-inch military knife out of his pocket and rushed the officers. He was shot dead on the spot.
Rahim was an active member of a Muslim community in Boston. His brother, Ibrahim, is a well-known imam at two Boston mosques. According to the Globe, the imam sought on social media to compare his brother's death to the death of Eric Garner, who died in a confrontation with a New York City undercover detective on Staten Island last year. A Grand Jury declined to indict the officer, who was accused of choking Garner to death.
“He was on his cellphone with my dear father during the confrontation needing a witness,” the Times cited Ibramim Rahim's Facebook page as saying. “His last words to my father who heard the shots were: ‘I can’t breathe!’” the imam wrote on his social media account on Tuesday, the newspaper reported, echoing what many in the media have cited as Garner's last words.
Imam Rahim, the Globe said, “is known as a voice of moderation and compassion,” who spoke out against the Boston Marathon bombing. “There is nothing in Islam that will ever commend, compliment, or praise Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev,” perpetrators of the bombing, the report quoted him as saying in a speech at a mosque. “There is not one thing in Islam that these two men can point to and justify the murder of four people and the maiming and injury of nearly 300 others.”
Last October, four Islamic terrorists associated with ISIS were arrested in London for planning beheadings in that city. MI5 (British intelligence) and police monitored the four, arresting them while they were in the "early stages" of planning a "significant" attack. Scotland Yard indicated the four intended to import ISIS's beheadings of westerners in Syria that have shocked the world.
The plan mirrors plots by a large Australian ISIS cell that was busted in mid-September, which had planned to behead a random member of the public.
Just days later in Norway, another ISIS cell was foiled ahead of executing its plans to behead an entire family and film it as a "warning" to Western states intervening against ISIS in Iraq and Syria.