Dzenan Camovic is the suspect accused in what the New York police commissioner called a “cowardly, despicable, unprovoked” knife attack on an NYPD officer who was stationed at an “anti-looting post,” according to local news sites.
“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,” Commissioner Dermot Shea said in a news conference.
Police did not release Camovic’s name. That came via police sources to NBC New York, who also told the television station that authorities are investigating whether it was a terrorist attack. That’s only one theory being probed, however.
The attack unfolded close to midnight on June 3 when the suspect is accused of rushing up and stabbing the officer in the neck. A chaotic scene unfolded with gunfire. In the end of it all, two other NYPD officers had suffered gunshot wounds. All three wounded officers are expected to survive.
The FBI is investigating the attack.
ADIC William F. Sweeney, Jr., of the FBI’s New York Office, said in a statement: “Last night’s cowardly attack on the NYPD left one officer stabbed and two shot. The FBI New York office is fully engaged. We respond as if one of our own was attacked, and we will use every federal statute available to hold the perpetrator accountable.”
Here’s what you need to know:
Camovic Is From the Balkan Region & Is Accused of Sharing Anti-Police Sentiments on Social Media
According to NBC New York, Camovic is “an immigrant from the Balkan region,” and a police source said the suspect had recently shared “anti-police sentiments on his social media feeds.” The New York Daily News also reported that he is an immigrant. The newspaper added that he was living along E. 22nd St. near Newkirk Ave. in Flatbush. According to ABC 7, though, Camovic is Bosnian, and it’s not clear whether he was naturalized or born in United States. “He lives in an apartment in Flatbush with his parents,” the television station reported.
He was described by NBC New York as not being on law enforcement’s radar but possibly associating with other people “of concern.”
According to the New York Daily News, Camovic is 20 years old and has no criminal history. Daily News reported that the Joint Terrorism Task Force “is investigating his background, sources said, and whether he is linked to ISIS or other terror groups.” ABC 7 gave his age as 21.
Camovic, Described by a Neighbor as Quiet, Previously Accused a Co-Worker at a Cafe of Punching Him in the Face
On Oct. 9, 2017, according to the Daily News, “Camovic filed a complaint with police claiming he was punched in the face multiple times after getting into a quarrel with a worker at the Palace, a cafe.” No one was arrested.
A neighbor expressed shock, telling the Daily News, “I was shocked to hear that he stabbed a police officer and then they shot him and he’s still alive, it’s amazing. He seemed so quiet and like a nice guy. I don’t know what made him come out like that.. he never seemed angry.”
The Police Commissioner Says the Suspect Walked Up to the Officer & Stabbed Him Without Warning
The police commissioner described a completely unprovoked attack.
In the news conference, Police Commissioner Shea said that the information was “extremely preliminary.” The commissioner started the news conference by outlining a series of previous attacks against police officers, some who were arresting looters.
He praised the “courageous men and women of this department who put a gun belt on every day and hit the street.”
Two officers were assigned to an “anti-looting post” in the 70th Precinct to “stop people from breaking into stores,” Shea said. The post was located at the intersection of Church and Flatbush Avenues, when, at around a quarter to midnight “without warning, video surveillance shows a male walk up to the officers casually, take out a knife and stab one of the officers in the neck. That officer was stabbed in the left side of his neck, thank God missing an artery and is recovering in stable condition,” said Shea.
A block or two away, a uniformed sergeant and police officer heard shots fired and responded quickly to that initial scene. They saw the perpetrator with a gun in his hand “which we believe belonged to one of the officers,” said Shea.
Police recovered 22 shell casings at the scene “from a number of members of the service.” Shea said it was a “chaotic scene.” A knife was also recovered.
The suspect was “struck multiple times and is in critical condition,” Shea said. In the chaos, two police officers were shot in the hand, although police have not said by whom. They are also in stable condition and are expected to recover.
Mayor Bill de Blasio said, “We’re gathered on a very tough night. Thank God all of our officers will recover. A number of other officers came to their aid.”
He said that the NYPD shows “bravery constantly” in protecting the community. “Thank God, this very, very challenging situation… thank God our officers came through safely,” said the mayor.
“We have to find a way to come together and move forward. Tonight, is a story of bravery and courage,” said the mayor.
Police Benevolent Association President Patrick Lynch said: “Are we surprised we’re here in the hospital again? Did we doubt because of the anti-police rhetoric that’s storming our streets, are we surprised we got this call? I’m not. All levels have to say it’s going to end today and then allow us to go out and do it.”
Shea said police are working with local and federal prosecutors.
He added: “This violence has to stop. And words matter. And I shouldn’t be at a hospital having the same discussion again.”
Shea said police are reviewing multiple body cameras. They “describe an extremely chaotic and rapid situation that is dark and unclear exactly what. We believe we’re going to have multiple officers fired at that scene.”
He said there are no outstanding suspects at this time that officers are aware of.