A radicalized jihadist from Brooklyn who stabbed a New York police officer, stole his service pistol, and then used it to shoot the officer’s partner and another officer in 2020 has pleaded guilty to a number of state and federal charges.
On Tuesday, March 15, 22-year-old Dzenan Camovic appeared before US District Judge Rachel P. Kovner to plead guilty to disposing of a firearm while committing a Hobbs Act robbery and voted to a lengthy prison term under federal anti-terrorism laws. He faces up to 30 years in prison and will be deported to Bosnia after leaving prison.
Camovic pleaded guilty Wednesday before Brooklyn Superior Court Judge Danny Chun to charges that included three counts of aggravated assault against a police officer, two counts of second-degree criminal possession of a weapon and one count of reckless endangerment.
He faced multiple state charges of attempted first-degree murder and the attempted murder of a police officer.
Chun is also expected to sentence Camovic to three decades in prison, but the Flatbush convict will be serving both his state and federal sentences at the same time.
“This case underscores the incredible dangers faced by police officers working to protect our neighborhoods, and we will not tolerate anyone who attempts to harm them,” Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez said in a prepared statement Wednesday . “In egregious acts of violence, this defendant stabbed a police officer in the neck as he stood on the corner and then shot dead his partner and a responding police officer. Today’s guilty plea and the severe sentence this defendant faces will ensure he is held accountable for this vicious and unprovoked attack.”
Camovic remains incarcerated at the city’s Riker’s Island prison complex, according to court documents.
His lawyers did not respond to messages from Coffee or Die magazine Comment wanted.
The case began in Brooklyn just before midnight on June 3, 2020, when officers were called to enforce an evening curfew following increasingly violent demonstrations across the city against police abuse.
Born in Bosnia and later residing in Germany, Camovic was living in the US illegally but had only returned to Brooklyn two days earlier after an extended stay in Jeffersonville, New York, due to restrictions imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic.
On June 3, CCTV footage caught him walking past officers Yayon Frantz Jean Pierre and Randy Ramnarine as they stood on a corner. Camovic then crouched in the shade for eight minutes before walking around the block to get behind the Bulls.
He texted a friend that it “would be a while” then stabbed Jean Pierre in the neck before rushing towards Ramnarine, beating him and then throwing his blade at the officer.
Jean Pierre drew his SIG Sauer P226 9mm semi-automatic pistol and tried to shoot Camovic, but the Bosnian snatched the pistol from the bleeding policeman’s hand. Camovic then aimed the pistol at Ramnarine and fired, hitting the officer’s hand.
More officers rushed to the corner. Camovic shot another police officer in the hand. A shootout broke out and the Bosnian fell to the ground with multiple gunshot wounds. He was taken to King’s County Hospital Center, where he recovered.
Officials reported that Camovic kept shouting “Allahu akbar!” It is an Arabic expression that proclaims “God is greatest”.
In the hospital’s intensive care unit, Camovic also told a medic that he killed two police officers and “my religion made me do it.”
Camovic’s stabbing of the officers came in the wake of supporters of the online group Islamic State, who called on their supporters to take advantage of protests that erupted in the US in the summer of 2020 and target law enforcement officials to sow discord.
After the attack, New York City police officers, along with special agents from the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force, searched Camovic’s room in the Flatbush apartment where his parents lived.
They seized 21 compact digital videodiscs linked to violent jihadist extremism, including works by assassinated Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi and US-born cleric Anwar al-Awlaki, who served at a US drone attack in Yemen killed in 2011.
Camovic’s phone also appeared to contain propaganda from the Islamic State group.
In an interview the day after the attack, Camovic’s father told investigators his son was a “very religious” student at New York City College of Technology studying construction management.
He said he saw no suspicious behavior from his son on the eve of the attack.
“Inspired by terrorists, the accused viciously attacked officers, stabbing one officer in the neck and shooting another in the hand,” US Attorney Breon Peace said in a prepared statement released Wednesday. “Protecting our community from acts of terrorism will always be a priority of this office, and we will bring to justice those who commit such reprehensible acts against the community and against our law enforcement partners.”
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