Staten Island, NY – An illegal immigrant who stabbed a New York City police officer in the neck, stole his gun, and used it to shoot two other officers has been sentenced to 30 years in federal prison.
Dzenan Camovic, a 22-year-old Bosnian national and Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) supporter, repeatedly screamed “Allahu Akbar” as he attempted to murder multiple New York Police Department (NYPD) officers during a violent, anti-police riot in Brooklyn on June 3, 2020, the Staten Island Advance reported.
In a press release issued on Sept. 21, U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York Breon Peace described the horrific incident as a “jihadist-inspired attack.”
Camovic pleaded guilty in March to robbing an NYPD officer’s duty weapon and using it to shoot multiple officers, Peace’s office said in an earlier press release.
The incident was captured by a security camera.
The ISIS supporter appeared before U.S. District Judge Rachel Kovner on Sept. 21 and was sentenced to 30 years in federal prison.
Kovner determined that the terrorism enhancement applied in Camovic’s case.
Camovic will be deported after his sentence is complete, Peace noted.
“Today’s 30-year sentence, along with Camovic’s removal from the United States, guarantees the community will be protected from his hate-filled ideology and actions,” Peace said after the sentence was handed down. “We will never stop working to protect the safety of our brave law enforcement officers and community from those who would do them harm.”
Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) New York Field Office Assistant Director-in-Charge Michael Driscoll said the sentence should serve as a warning to other potential extremists.
“As today’s sentence demonstrates, those who direct hate-fueled violence at anyone – including the brave men and women of law enforcement – will face stiff consequences in our criminal justice system,” Director Driscoll said. “Along with our partners on the Joint Terrorism Task Force, we remain steadfast in our determination to protect our city and our Nation from terrorists and their violent extremist ideology.”
New York Police Commissioner Keechant Sewell also praised the 30-year sentence.
“An attack against New York City police officers is an attack against our city and way of life – and today’s sentencing of Dzenan Camovic sends a clear message that such violence will never be tolerated,” Commissioner Sewell said. “Our NYPD family is thankful our brave officers survived this premeditated ambush.”
“I commend our NYPD investigators, our partners in the FBI’s New York Joint Terrorism Task Force, and the prosecutors in the United States Attorney’s Office in the Eastern District of New York, for their work in this case,” she added. “Together, we will never stop working to protect our city.”
Camovic’s near-deadly attack began at approximately 11:50 p.m. on June 3, 2020, as the city was under a nightly curfew order due to violent anti-police rioting, according to court documents.
NYPD Officer Yayonfrant Jean Pierre and a second officer were standing guard on the corner of Flatbush Avenue and Church Avenue that night to help deter looters, WNBC reported at the time.
Security footage showed the suspect as he briskly rounded the corner and stabbed Officer Pierre on the right side of his neck from behind.
“Allahu Akbar!” he allegedly screamed three times as he plunged the blade into the officer’s neck, according to the New York Daily News.
Camovic then chased the second officer and repeatedly lunged at him and attempted to stab him, Peace said.
He ultimately returned to Officer Pierre and commandeered his duty weapon, then opened fire at the second officer and additional officers who were running towards the melee.
An NYPD sergeant managed to return fire, hitting the suspect eight times, now-former NYPD Commissioner Dermot Shea told reporters at the time, according to WNBC.
Two officers suffered gunshot wounds to their hands.
“This was not a chance encounter—it was a planned assassination attempt on an NYPD police officer,” the NYPD tweeted shortly after the attack. “It’s only by sheer luck that this didn’t have a drastically different outcome.”
A total of 22 rounds were fired during the incident, which was also captured by the officers’ bodycams, WNBC reported.
The suspect’s knife was recovered at the scene.
Officer Pierre, a Haitian immigrant, survived his stab wound, the New York Daily News reported.
Camovic was hospitalized in critical condition but ultimately recovered.
Investigators located “a significant volume of radical jihadist propaganda” among Camovic’s belongings, Peace said.