Gang Leader Stabbed Derek Chauvin 22 Times on ‘Black Friday,’ Complaint Says

derek chauvin

Mugshot, Bureau of Prisons John Turscak is accused of stabbing Derek Chauvin.

John Turscak is a former Mexican Mafia gang leader and FBI informant who is accused of stabbing former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin 22 times in a Tucson, Arizona, prison law library.

Chauvin is incarcerated in the death of George Floyd.

On December 1, 2023, the United States Attorney’s Office “filed a criminal complaint charging attempted murder, assault with intent to commit murder, assault with a dangerous weapon, and assault resulting in serious bodily injury against John Turscak, 52,” the U.S. Department of Justice announced in a press release.

“The complaint alleges that while incarcerated at Federal Correctional Institution Tucson, Turscak stabbed another inmate, D.C., who had previously been convicted of federal crimes in another district, approximately 22 times with an improvised knife.”

“Attempted murder and assault with intent to commit murder violations each carry maximum penalties of 20 years’ incarceration, while assault with a dangerous weapon and assault resulting in serious bodily injury each carry maximum penalties of 10 years’ incarceration,” the release says.

Minnesota’s attorney general confirmed to the Minneapolis Star-Tribune that the inmate was Chauvin and said he was in a hospital in stable condition.

The federal Bureau of Prisons inmate database describes Turscak as:

Register Number: 14098-074
Age: 52
Race: White
Sex: Male
Located at: Tucson USP
Release Date: 06/03/2026

Heavy is working to verify a photo of Turscak on social media.

Here’s what you need to know:

1. John Turscak, Who Went by the Gang Name ‘Stranger,’ Chose ‘Black Friday’ Because of the Black Lives Matter Movement & Mexican Mafia’s ‘Black Hand’ Symbol, the Court Documents Say

john turscak

US DOJJohn Turscak indictment

According to the federal indictment, Turscak is accused of stabbing Chavin (named as DC in the indictment) with an improvised knife approximately 22 times, causing serious bodily injury.

Chauvin was “in the facility’s law library” when attacked, the court documents say.

“A federal corrections officers immediately responded to the assault and deployed OC spray to subdue Turscak,” the documents say.

Turscak told corrections officers “that he would have killed DC had they not responded so quickly,” the indictment says.

He denied wanting to kill DC but stated “he had been thinking about assaulting DC for approximately one month because DC is a high profile inmate,” the indictment says, adding, “He saw an opportunity to assault DC in the law library on Friday, November 24, 2023, the day after Thanksgiving commonly known as Black Friday.”

Turscak stated that his attack of Chauvin on Black Friday “was symbolic with the Black Lives Matter movement and the ‘Black Hand’ symbol associated with the Mexican Mafia criminal organizations,” the complaint says. The attack happened at 12:30 p.m. on November 24, 2023, at the Federal Correctional Institution in Tucson, the documents say.

An appellate court decision described Turscak as John “Stranger” Turscak.

2. John Turscak Was Described as a ‘High-Level Gang Member’ Who Was in a War With Another Mexican Mafia Leader in California

derek chauvin prison

BOPThe prison that houses Derek Chauvin.

A 2001 article in the Los Angeles Times descried how a “high-ranking Mexican Mafia leader” named Mariano Martinez was found “guilty of murdering three men and ordering hits on eight others in the first death penalty case tried in Los Angeles federal court in half a century.”

That article names Turscak. It says that, “although Martinez was the ranking Mexican Mafia leader in Los Angeles, he faced a challenge to his authority from another high-level gang member, John Turscak.”

The article accuses Martinez of orchestrating the murder of Richard Serrano a “reputed drug dealer and close associated of Turscak” as well as “two innocent bystanders.”

Another 2001 article in the Los Angeles Times says that Serrano was “shot to death while on his knees in the Montebello auto body shop.”

According to the Times article, which was accessed via archives, “bitter and sometimes violence warfare erupted between the two sides in 1997. Martinez survived two murder attempts by Turscak’s crew.”

It says that the Mexican Mafia, “also known as La Eme, was founded during the late 1950s by a group of inmates from East Los Angeles in an attempt to control drug trafficking behind prison walls.”

The appellate court decision says that one faction in the Mexican Mafia, led by John “Stranger” Turscak and his associate Jesse “Shady” Detevis, “confronted another which was led by Martinez” and others. The government presented evidence that Martinez and two other men “had approved the murders of Turscak and Detevis and had discussed plans to carry them out.” The men made an “unsuccessful attempt to murder Turscak” on Easter Sunday 1998, the documents say.

3. John Turscak Once Worked as an FBI Informant, But the Agency Dropped Him Because He Was Accused of Plotting Murders While ‘on the Government’s Payroll’

derek chauvin sentence

Mugshot/videoDerek Chauvin sentence: how much prison time could he get?

The 2001 article in the Times adds that Turscak was a “paid informant for the FBI. He began cooperating with the government in April 1997, but was subsequently dropped when FBI agents learned he had plotted to kill Martinez and his associates while on the government’s payroll.”

Turscak had ordered an assassination attempt of Martinez in 1997, and Martinez was “wounded in the arm and his fiancé narrowly missed being shot,” the Times reported.

Martinez set up a meeting with Turscak in “a passenger lounge at Los Angeles International Airport,” a location chosen so “both men would have to pass through metal detectors,” according to The Times.

An article in the Los Angeles Times, also in 2001, said that Tursczak became an informant in 1997 “in an investigation that resulted in the indictment of more than 40 alleged Mexican Mafia members and associates.”

The appellate court decision says that some of the other defendants argued that Turscak provided the federal government with “significant information regarding the activities of the Eme.”

The documents says, “Appellants claim that various aspects of the government’s involvement with and reliance on informant John ‘Stranger’ Turscak resulted in conduct so improper that their due process rights have been violated.”

“Turscak became an informant for the FBI around April 1997 and provided a great deal of information about the activities of the Eme. Some of the recordings he made of his conversations with other Eme members and associates were played at trial, although Turscak himself did not testify,” the appellate court decision says.

The appellate court case says:

Appellants claim that the government engaged in outrageous conduct in this case because it used Turscak as a confidential informant even as he continued to engage in illegal conduct and, particularly, as he continued to discuss a potential attack on co-defendant Martinez with other Eme members and associates. The district court found, however, that ‘[a]lthough the Government was aware that Turscak was talking about a conspiracy to murder Martinez, Turscak was cooperating with the investigation so there was no reason to believe that he actually intended to carry out the murder.’ The district court further found that it could not be established that Turscak carried out an attempt on Martinez’s life in December 1997.

The court concluded, “Regarding other aspects of Turscak’s illegal conduct, the government was, at worst, negligent in its handling of Turscak as an informant, but its conduct does not rise to the level required for a finding of a due process violation.”

4. John Turscak Once Told a Judge That He Expected a Lighter Sentence Because he ‘Had an Agreement With FBI Agents’

FBI Crest

GettyFBI Crest

In November 2001, the Fresno Bee reported that Turscak had received a 30-year prison term, calling him an “FBI informant who was a former member of the Mexican Mafia. He was sent to prison for racketeering and conspiring to kill a rival in the gang.”

Turscak “expressed dismay” after pleading guilty because he thought “he had an agreement with FBI agents that would have brought him a lighter sentence,” the article says.

“I didn’t commit those crimes for kicks,” Turscak said in court, according to The Bee. “I did them because I had to if I wanted to stay alive.”

Other old newspaper articles from Los Angeles show Turscak worked for a car dealership. records say Turscak’s mother’s maiden name was Martinez.

5. Derek Chauvin’s Mother Asked, ‘Where Were the Guards?’ & Says Chauvin Tried to ‘Fight Him Off’

derek chauvin

Mugshot/GettyDerek Chauvin

Chauvin’s mother is raising questions about the attack to Alpha News, a Minnesota site that recently published a documentary, “The Fall of Minneapolis,” that contained an interview with Chauvin, who described his trial as a sham.

“After getting a call from Derek and hearing how it happened and how there was no one around and that Derek tried to fight him off, but at every turn he would get stabbed again and what this guy did, I’m wondering how something like this could even happen. Where were the guards?” Chauvin’s mother, Carolyn Pawlenty, told Alpha News Friday.

“I’m in a state of shock that it happened. How safe is he now? Where are they going to put him where he is ever going to be safe again? I will not ever give up on getting the truth out. I am outraged, angry and shocked,” she said. “Thank God he’s alive.”

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