Two New York City police officers were shot and one was stabbed in Brooklyn in what authorities are investigating as a possible terror attack.
According to NBC New York, authorities are investigating whether it was a terror attack. Dzenan Camovic was the accused suspect and is an “an immigrant from the Balkan region” who recently shared “anti-police sentiments on his social media feeds.” Police Commissioner Dermot Shea called the attack unprovoked and cowardly. The FBI is investigating.
“What we know at this point in time, 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,” Shea said.
In a news conference, Police Commissioner Dermot Shea said that the information was “extremely preliminary.” The commissioner started the news conference by outling a series of previous attacks against police officers, some of whom 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.
Early reports were conflicting.
Morena Basteiro, an ABC7 reporter, wrote on Twitter, “Two @NYPDnews officers have been shot in Brooklyn. Church Avenue and Flatbush Avenue. Both are expected to survive.” Alex DiPrato, a journalist with 7News Boston wrote on Twitter, “Two NYPD officers shot in Brooklyn. WABC reports both expected to survive.”
Steve Kastenbaum, a journalist with Westwood One news, wrote: “Reports of two NYPD officers wounded in a shooting at Church and Flatbush Avenues. Conflicting reports, either 1 shot & 1 stabbed or both shot. Both transported to Kings County Hospital. Not yet clear if it’s related to ongoing George Floyd demonstrations or something else.” He later added, “Sources say the shooting in Brooklyn happened when the officers were breaking up a fight at Flatbush and Church Avenues. One officer was stabbed in the process, another was shot. Suspect was also shot. Not clear yet how the officer was shot.” However, the New York Post cited sources in reporting that both officers were shot. PIX11 also reported that the officers were shot.
The report of the shot officers came the day after 10 NYPD officers opened fire on a man police said refused repeated orders to drop a gun. Police presented a photo at their press conference that showed the gun lying in the grass in that earlier incident. That incident also came in Brooklyn, and both shootings came in the midst of ongoing tensions over the death of George Floyd. It’s not clear whether the shooting of the two officers, which occurred on June 3, has any nexus to the Floyd protests and riots.
Video circulating on social media showed a massive law enforcement response to the scene, including helicopters.
NYC Emergency Management wrote, “Due to police activity, expect traffic delays, road closures and a heavy presence of emergency personnel in the area of Flatbush Avenue and Church Avenue, Brooklyn. Consider alternate routes and allow for additional travel time.”
The unrest over George Floyd ignited after a viral video showed him pleading that he could not breathe as a Minneapolis police officer restrained him with a knee to the neck. Floyd then died. The officer has been charged with second-degree murder, along with other charges, and three other officers who were at the scene are also facing criminal prosecution. The Floyd death has ignited unrest throughout the country, and officers have been shot in other jurisdictions as well.
This post is being updated as more information is learned about the officers.