A 22-year-old Brooklyn man has pleaded guilty to several charges of aggravated assault against police officers. Dzenan Camovic has been charged of stabbing a cop in the neck, taking the injured officer’s gun, using it to shoot the officer’s partner in the hand and firing at responding officers, wounding a third cop in a June 3, 2020 attack.
The attacker will be sentenced in early August and could face up to 30 years in prison, according to Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez.
Camovic said his “religion made me do it,” when he spoke with federal prosecutors and authorities the days after the attack on multiple NYPD officers. Court filings say the Bosnian national was motivated by his interest in and support for violent Islamist extremism. Information on the terrorist group the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, or ISIS, was found on his phone.
New York City Police Department officers Yayon Frantz Jean Pierre and Randy Ramnarine were standing on the corner of Flatbush and Church avenues in Flatbush when Camovic walked up to Jean Pierre from behind and stabbed him in the neck. He then rushed Ramnarine with the knife and threw it at him. The incident was caught by the officers’ body cameras.
Officer Jean Pierre fired at Camovic and tripped. Camovic fought with the officer for control of his gun. He managed to wrestle it away and fired at Ramnarine, striking him in the hand. Camovic opened fire on more officers as they responded, and hit one in the hand.
Camovic was shot multiple times in the fray. All injured officers and attacker have recovered.
The attacker was born in Germany and has no legal immigration status in the US, federal prosecutors said.
Camovic also pleaded guilty in federal court to Hobbs Act Robbery and Discharging a Firearm in Furtherance of a Crime of Violence. He is expected to be sentenced to 30 years in prison for the federal charges, to be served concurrently with his state sentence.
“This case highlights the incredible dangers faced by police officers working to protect our neighborhoods, and we have no tolerance for anyone who attempts to do them harm,” Gonzalez said. “Today’s guilty plea and the significant sentence this defendant faces will ensure he is held accountable for this vicious and unprovoked attack.”
The incident occurred as protests motivated by George Floyd’s death at the hands of a Minneapolis police officer took place across the city.
At the time of the attack, then-US Attorney General William Barr released a statement calling Camovic’s actions “premeditated and cowardly,” accusing him of using “the cover of chaos during recent civil unrest in New York City” to commit the crime.
“This is Dzenan’s first arrest, and he comes from a hard-working, loving family,” said Camovic’s attorneys in a 2020 statement. “Like a number of others during this pandemic, he has been struggling with untreated mental health issues. We look forward to defending him.”