“Boston Strong, God Bless America”: Terror Suspect’s Family Reacts to Surveillance Video

The video also showed that Usaama Rahim was not talking on a cell phone when he was shot

The family of Usaamah Rahim, the terrorism suspect who was killed by police in Boston, says they saw no signs that he had been radicalized or had any connections to ISIS.

"That comes as an absolute surprise to his family," said Robert Sullivan, the family's attorney. "They had not perceived any conduct or change in demeanor consistent with those reports."

He said it also came as "a complete shock" that Rahim allegedly threatened to kill police.

"They have described him as an energetic young man trying to make his way in this world," the lawyer said. "Nothing about that description was outside the boundaries of normalness."

Sullivan spoke on behalf of several family members - including Rahim's mother and brother - at a press conference Thursday in the parking lot of the CVS in Roslindale where Rahim was shot and killed by police on Tuesday morning. He said the family is not making any claims at this time, but instead waiting for more evidence to form "a reasoned and informed opinion."

Later Thursday evening, the family watched the surveillance video from the CVS parking lot.

"Boston Strong," said Usaamah Rahim's brother, Imam Ibrahim Rahim, after the viewing. "God bless America."

During the conference, Sullivan commended the Suffolk Colunty District Attorney's Office for allowing the family to see the video before the public. The office later announced that the video would not be released until after Usaamah Rahim's funeral.

Rahim is expected to be buried Friday, according to family members, who are asking for privacy.

"She [Rahim's mother] and her entire family grieve the loss of her youngest son," Sullivan said. "She seeks answers. The family is interested in and dedicated to ensuring a complete and transparent investigation into his death.

"He was a son, a husband to his wife, he was very loved by his family," he said. "They are devastated. They have lost a loved one, and this loved one is being accused of terrible things."

Sullivan said the family is concerned that the initial action between police and Rahim was not supported by a warrant.

Rahim's aunt, who identified herself only as Karen, added that "with the current slaughter of black men across the nation, that's enough to make any and all black men feel threatened.

"It has nothing to do with Islam," she said. "If it wasn't for the fact that he was Muslim, you would not be hearing ISIS."

Meanwhile, law enforcement officials say Rahim called his father Tuesday morning, shortly before the FBI and Boston police confronted and shot him, and said, "You're not going to see me again after today."

According to court documents, Rahim planned to "randomly kill police officers" this week. He was under 24-hour surveillance by the FBI's Joint Terrorism Task Force when he was shot and killed after coming at police with a large, military-style knife.

Police say Rahim originally planned to kill someone out of state, but later changed his plan to "go after" the "boys in blue," as he was overheard saying in a phone call. At one point, Rahim made a comparison to "thinking with your head on your chest," which FBI officials say is a possible reference to Islamic State propaganda videos showing severed heads on the chests of beheading victims.

Law enforcement sources tell NBC News that activist and conservative blogger Pamela Gellar — the woman behind the controversial "Draw Muhammad" competition — may also have been a target, but noted that the alleged plot to kill police was more believable than the "fantasy" to behead Geller.

"We don't know whether they even knew where to find her," a source said.

Boston Police Commissioner William Evans has said that authorities were watching Rahim "for quite a time," but "a level of alarm" prompted them to try to question him Tuesday. He said authorities knew Rahim "had some extremism as far as his views," but he would not confirm media reports that Rahim had been radicalized by online propaganda by the Islamic State group.

On NBC's "Today" show on Thursday morning, Evans said he believes police have everyone connected with this plot, but they are still working with the FBI to tie up any loose ends.

"This was very real, it was very dangerous, and what unfolded on Tuesday morning could have saved not only police officers' lives, but who knows where this could have went otherwise," he said.

The FBI also arrested an Everett man on conspiracy charges Tuesday in connection with the Rahim investigation. David Wright, 26, appeared in federal court in Boston on Wednesday afternoon and was ordered held pending a detention and probable cause hearing on June 19 at 2 p.m. Family members said Wright was Rahim's nephew.

A court affidavit filed Wednesday by FBI agent J. Joseph Galietta details his agency's investigation into Rahim and Wright.

Galietta said the Joint Terrorism Task Force investigation revealed that Rahim had been planning to engage in a "violent attack in the United States," which was confirmed during an interview with Wright on Tuesday.

He said Rahim "took several steps in furtherance of this plan, including the purchase of three fighting knives and a knife sharpener frm Amazon.com" on May 26. The next day, Rahim called Wright and told him "I just got myself a nice little tool. You know it's good for carving wood and like, you know, carving sculptures ... and you know ..." Wright and Rahim then both began laughing.

Rahim then told Wright about a plan, in which he was involved, to kill a person outside of Massachusetts.

Five days later, on May 31, Rahim, Wright and a third person met on a beach in Rhode Island to discuss their plans. In his interview with FBI agents on Tuesday, Wright said those plans included the beheading of the planned victim in another state.

Two days later, on Tuesday, June 2, Rahim called Wright and told him he had changed his plans and no longer planned to commit an attack in another state. Instead, he said he was going to "go after" the "boys in blue," which is believed to be a reference to killing police officers.

Later in the conversation, Rahim revealed to Wright that he planned to randomly kill police officers in Massachusetts either on Tuesday, June 2 or on Wednesday, June 3. Afterward, Wright told Rahim to delete information from, and destroy, his smartphone and wipe his laptop computer.

Members of the FBI and Rhode Island State Police searched a home on Aspinet Drive in Warwick, Rhode Island, on Tuesday and Wednesday. It was "court authoritized activity," according to a FBI spokesperson in Boston; however, it was not confirmed that the search was linked to the Boston shooting.

Vincent Lisi, special agent in charge of the Boston FBI office, said authorities "don't think there's any concern for public safety out there right now."

On Wednesday morning, Boston Police showed video of the fatal police shooting to clergy and members of the Muslim community in a closed meeting.

Members of the city's Muslim community said the video is "inconclusive," though it does corroborate police accounts that Rahim was not shot in the back. The video won't be released to public until the investigation is complete.

Rahim's older brother Ibrahim Rahim had initially said in a Facebook posting that his brother was killed while waiting at a bus stop to go to his job. But he has since released a statement calling on Muslim communities to "remain calm" and to offer their prayers for his brother.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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