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FBI arrests Rhode Island man in terror inquiry

A man whose Rhode Island home was investigated in connection with a terror suspect shot last week by members of the Joint Terrorism Task Force in Boston was arrested by the FBI Thursday night, officials said.

Nicholas Rovinski, 24, was arrested without incident at an address in Warwick, R.I., at 8:16 p.m. and is being held, according to Kristen Setera, a spokeswoman for the FBI.

Rovinski will make an initial appearance in federal court in Boston on Friday morning, said Christina DiIorio-Sterling, a spokeswoman for the office of US Attorney Carmen M. Ortiz. The charges against Rovinski will be announced Friday, she said.


The arrest comes after investigations spurred by the death of Usaamah Rahim, 26, who was fatally shot by members of the Joint Terrorism Task Force on June 2 in a CVS parking lot in Roslindale. Investigators said he lunged at a FBI agent and Boston police officer with a military-style knife.

Rahim, of Roslindale, and his nephew, David Wright, 25, of Everett, were allegedly conspiring to attack police officers. Wright was arraigned last week and faces federal obstruction charges, and is being held without bail until he appears in court later this month.

Authorities allege that Rahim decided to attack and kill “boys in blue’’ with combat knives he had recently purchased online. Law enforcement officials have reported that the original target of the alleged terror plot was political activist Pamela Geller, who has drawn national attention for her criticism of radical Muslims.

Police have also said in interviews that Rahim was plotting to behead an officer.

Rahim, Wright, and a third person met May 31 on a Rhode Island beach in inclement weather to discuss their plans, according to a federal affidavit.

The day Rahim was shot, the FBI and Rhode Island State Police searched that third person’s home on Aspinet Drive in Warwick, according to a law enforcement official with knowledge of the investigation.


Jacqueline Ferrara, who has lived on Aspinet Drive for 12 years, said she noticed an increased police presence in the area over the past two days. Ferrara, 19, said that at about 8:15 p.m. on Thursday she saw what she thought were state troopers and FBI agents go into the backyard of a home on the street and arrest someone.

A 17-year-old resident of the street, whose mother asked that he not be named, said on the day of Rahim’s shooting that police asked the teen about a neighbor in his 20s named Nick.

Nick often wears ankle-length robes and sometimes prays in his front yard, the teenager said.

One resident who declined to give her name said she had known Rovinski since he was a child. He delivered the paper, and she would see him in the neighborhood.

The fact that Rovinski lived nearby did not scare her, she said, but the disclosure that Rahim and Wright had come to the area was frightening.

“Plotting something so horrific,” she said. “That scares me.”

Globe correspondent Matt MacCormack contributed to this report. M.G. Lee can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @m_g_lee. Evan Allen can be reached at