The FBI continues to investigate whether the North Texas murder of a Lyft driver and the shooting of a police lobby are ‘acts of terrorism.’
Garland police say Lyft driver Isabella Lewis, 26, was shot and killed by her passenger, Imran Ali Rasheed, just before noon on Sunday.
Rasheed is accused of then stealing her car and driving to the Plano Police Department headquarters and opening fire in the lobby, before being shot by a police officer. Rasheed died on Monday.
Local and federal police say a note left behind by Rasheed is leading them in the direction to investigate if the shooting was an 'act of terrorism.'
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Attorney Edwin “Bubba” King says Rasheed’s family obtained his legal representation before his death and given the serious felonies he faced.
King tells NBC 5, Rasheed’s family extends their deepest sympathies to Lewis’ family.
“The family is just heartbroken over the death of Ms. Lewis,” King said. “They had no idea. They weren’t aware. There weren’t any signs that anything like this was going to take place and they’re just heartbroken.”
Asked if Rasheed carried out a terroristic act on Sunday, King responded: “I have no idea. I don’t believe so.”
Rasheed, he said, was known as a kind and courteous man who had no criminal history.
His family immigrated from India. Rasheed was born in the U.S., was a practicing Muslim and struggled recently with his mental health.
His family believes this may be to blame for Sunday’s events.
“I think this is the actions of a depressed man who doesn’t see a future for himself,” said King.
The 32-year-old was reportedly depressed after being laid off from his job in Minnesota and was devastated by the debilitating advancement of his five-year battle with multiple sclerosis.
King acknowledges many people struggling with mental illness or MS do not murder and shoot people.
“Agreed,” he said. “Agreed. I don’t have a good explanation for any of that at all.”
King has not seen the note police said was found in the victim’s car following the shootings, but says the FBI showed the note to Rasheed’s mother to confirm his handwriting.
Items were also taken from the family’s Garland home, including garbage and a computer, King said.
“Whatever is written down isn’t written clearly because I would’ve expected the FBI to come out and say: He left a note saying he was in favor of jihadist movements and retaliation for our involvement in Afghanistan or around the world and there’s none of that,” King said. “It doesn’t seem to be some kind of manifesto expressing some plain, obvious jihadist intent.”
The FBI revealed there had been a counterterrorism investigation into Rasheed from 2010 to 2013.
Special agent in charge Matthew De Sarno would not disclose any details about this case or what led the agency to investigate Rasheed.
“At the end of that investigation, the case team determined that the subject did not pose a threat,” said De Sarno.
King says Rasheed’s family was aware of the investigation eight years ago and cooperated with authorities.
“He went down and met [the FBI] at a police station, had nothing to hide. They thoroughly looked at what he was doing, and they came away with the conclusion that he wasn’t involved in anything. That’s why he wasn’t on any list,” said King.
“They don’t have him with any ties to any group, any communication so far. Nothing. There’s just nothing. I honestly think whatever is in this note is some veiled attempt to distract. And maybe, as odd as this might sound, make his death more meaningful than it was.”