A knife-wielding Boston man shot to death by police who confronted him about a plot to behead an officer was not a terrorist and was only under suspicion because he was Muslim, his aunt said.
But Usaama Rahim, who was killed Tuesday after police say he threatened them with a knife, had phoned his father that morning to say goodbye, according to unnamed law enforcement sources cited by NBC News and The Boston Herald.
"You're not going to see me again after today," the 26-year-old told his father on the call, NBC News reported.
Authorities had Rahim under around-the-clock surveillance and were recording his phone calls, according to an FBI affidavit supporting conspiracy charges against his nephew, David Wright. The affidavit said Rahim had recently bought several large knives and talked about openly about wanted to "go after" the "boys in blue."
In one call, Rahim indicated he was "going ... on vacation right here in Massachusetts," a code for waging jihad, the affidavit said.
But at a press conference in the Roslindale neighborhood where Rahim was killed, an aunt who identified herself only by her first name said her nephew carried a knife for protection.
"As you all know, with the current slaughter of black men that's going on across the nation, that's enough to make any black man feel threatened," Karen said as other family members stood nearby. She said her nephew had been dubbed a terrorist because he's Muslim, according to My Fox Boston.
An attorney for the family said that Rahim's brother regretted claiming on Facebook on Tuesday that police had shot Rahim in the back while he talked on the phone with his father.
Thursday brought more revelations about the investigation. The Associated Press reported that an imam said he was told that Rahim had been under surveillance for three years, while Boston Police Commissioner William Evans confirmed earlier reports that Rahim originally discussed beheading conservative blogger Pamela Geller.
Geller, who recently organized a controversial contest to depict the Muslim prophet Muhammed as a cartoon, wrote to the AP that she's unsurprised Rahim targeted her.
"They want to make an example out of me to frighten the rest of the US into silence and submission," Geller's message to the AP said. "This is not about me. This is about whether the US will stand for freedom or submit and cower before violent intimidation."