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The Justice Department said Wednesday that a man who allegedly stabbed a New York City police officer and shot two others in early June is an illegal immigrant from Bosnia-Herzegovina who was motivated by his support for Islamic extremism.
As race-related rioting and violence beset New York City, Dzenan Camovic targeted NYPD officers who were on an anti-looting patrol, the Washington Times reported, citing federal prosecutors.
According to surveillance video footage obtained by the Justice Department Camovic is seen stalking the officers before stabbing one of them in the neck with a kitchen knife and lunging at another, chasing him down a street.
Camovic then returned to the officer he stabbed, grabbed his firearm and shot at responding officers six times, striking two in the hand as he shouted “Allahu akbar,” which is Arabic that is understood to mean “God is great.”
NEW: @NYPDDetectives release photo of the knife used in the attack on an NYPD officer. pic.twitter.com/a8vLpGqmfn
— Myles Miller (@MylesMill) June 4, 2020
Responding officers fired 16 times at Camovic wounding him before taking him into custody. Reports said Camovic was struck eight times.
Federal investigators later discovered that Camovic had been studying extremist materials that included some from the defunct Islamic State.
NYPD Commissioner Dermot Shea roundly condemned the attack on his officers.
“It appears to be a complete cowardly, despicable, unprovoked attack on a defenseless police officer, and, thank God, we’re not planning a funeral right now,” he said during a news conference following the incident.
“Dzenan Camovic, an illegal alien and Bosnian national, is alleged to have used the cover of chaos during recent civil unrest in New York City to launch a premeditated and cowardly attack from behind against two New York City Police officers, brutally slashing one with a knife, stealing his weapon and opening fire, and injuring several responding officers,” added U.S. Attorney General William Barr, in announcing the charges.
NBC New York reported June 5 that “law enforcement sources” suggested Camovic’s actions were being investigated as a terrorist attack.
The New York Post’s Joe Marino reported that as well, via Twitter.
FBI JTTF arriving at the Brooklyn home of 20-year old Dzenan Camovic. Authorities are investigating whether the stabbing of an NYPD cop in Brooklyn by Camovic was a terror-inspired assault by an immigrant from the Balkans, according to sources and a report. pic.twitter.com/jIGtC0Ih2O
— Joe Marino (@joemarino_) June 4, 2020
“Authorities are investigating whether the stabbing of an NYPD cop in Brooklyn by Camovic was a terror-inspired assault by an immigrant from the Balkans, according to sources and a report,” he wrote.
ABC New York reporter Candace McGowan noted on Twitter June 4 that Camovic is 21 years old, while also posting what appears to be a driver’s license a photo of him.
NYPD saying 21 year-old Camovic Dzenan is behind a knife attack and shooting that left three officers injured late Wednesday. One of the officers was stabbed in the neck. Two others shot in the hand. The officers are stable. Dzenan was shot and is in critical condition. @ABC7NY pic.twitter.com/Lnva9kSdKD
— Candace McCowan (@CandaceMcCowan7) June 4, 2020
A report from CBS2 in New York provides more context:
During his presser, Barr said that federal investigators believe there is more evidence tying Camovic to Islamic extremism but that the FBI can’t access it because it’s encrypted.
The Times said that Barr has been pressuring tech companies to create back doors to devices so investigators can access it, but they have resisted over privacy concerns.
Camovic “faces attempted murder and weapons charges at the state level, and a federal grand jury indicted him on charges of robbery, use of a firearm, theft of a firearm and unlawful possession of a firearm. Illegal immigrants cannot legally have guns,” the Times added.
The paper added that a relative of Camovic said he was born in the U.S. and downplayed the notion he could be a terrorist.
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