Dzenan Camovic pleaded guilty in federal court in Brooklyn to robbing a New York City Police Department (NYPD) officer’s firearm and discharging the firearm at NYPD officers during the course of the robbery. The offenses took place on June 3, 2020, when Camovic attacked multiple police officers on patrol in Brooklyn. The proceeding was held before United States District Judge Rachel P. Kovner on March 15, 2022.
When sentenced, Camovic faces 30 years’ imprisonment pursuant to the terms of his plea agreement with the government. Camovic has stipulated that the terrorism enhancement to the United States Sentencing Guidelines—an enhanced sentence for certain criminal conduct that was calculated to influence or affect the conduct of government by intimidation or coercion—is applicable to his offense. As part of his plea agreement, Camovic, a Bosnian citizen illegally in the United States, agreed to the entry of an order of removal so that he will be deported after completing his sentence. Camovic also pleaded guilty today in State Supreme Court in Brooklyn to charges arising out of the same conduct.
Breon Peace, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, Michael J. Driscoll, Assistant Director-in-Charge, FBI, New York Field Office and Keechant Sewell, Commissioner, NYPD, announced the guilty plea.
“With this guilty plea, Camovic admitted robbing a police officer’s gun and shooting that gun during an extremely violent attack on officers keeping the city safe during a public emergency,” stated United States Attorney Peace. “Inspired by terrorists, the defendant viciously attacked officers, stabbing one officer in the neck and shooting another in the hand. Protecting our community from terrorist attacks will always be a priority of this Office, and we will bring to justice those who commit such reprehensible acts against the community and against our law enforcement partners.”
Mr. Peace expressed his appreciation to the FBI’s New York Joint Terrorism Task Force for its outstanding work on the case and the Kings County District Attorney’s Office for their assistance.
“When Mr. Camovic ambushed and feloniously assaulted several heroic NYPD officers, it was also an attack on our city and our collective sense of security. Yesterday’s plea ensures Mr. Camovic will never again be in a position to commit such a heinous act on our soil. His case should serve as an example of the FBI’s unwavering commitment to protecting our communities against extremists, while standing shoulder-to-shoulder with our law enforcement partners,” stated FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge Driscoll.
“An attack on police officers who are sworn to protect the public is an attack on all of us,” stated NYPD Commissioner Sewell, “and our society will never tolerate such destructive violence. This prosecution affirms our joint commitment to confront, combat, and defeat violent extremism in all its forms, anywhere. I commend the NYPD detectives, FBI agents, and representatives of the more than 50 agencies that make up the New York Joint Terrorism Task Force for their investigation leading to today’s guilty plea.”
As set forth in court filings and during the plea proceeding, on the evening of June 3, 2020, in the midst of a public health emergency and while New York City was under a nightly curfew order due to civil unrest, Camovic attacked several uniformed NYPD officers assigned to an anti-looting post near the intersection of Flatbush and Church Avenues in Brooklyn. At approximately 11:30 p.m., Camovic walked past two police officers on foot patrol and appeared to crouch for several minutes watching them. Camovic then moved around the block in an apparent effort to approach the two police officers from behind.
At approximately 11:50 p.m., Camovic rounded the corner from Flatbush Avenue onto Church Avenue and stabbed one of the officers (“Officer 1”) in the neck with a knife. After stabbing Officer 1, Camovic chased the second officer (“Officer 2”), lunging at him and attempting to stab him. Camovic then ran back to Officer 1, attacked him, forcibly took control of Officer 1’s firearm and fired multiple shots at Officer 2 and other officers who responded to the scene. Responding officers ultimately shot Camovic and took him into custody. Several officers suffered injuries during Camovic’s attack and robbery, including Officer 1, who was stabbed in the neck, and Officer 2, who was shot in the hand.
During his attack on the police officers, Camovic repeatedly shouted “Allahu Akbar,” an Arabic phrase meaning “God is the greatest,” that has been used by perpetrators of violent jihadist terror attacks during the commission of violent attacks. Prior to the attack, Camovic possessed a significant volume of radical jihadist propaganda.
The government’s case is being handled by the Office’s National Security and Cybercrime Section. Assistant United States Attorneys Craig R. Heeren, Artie McConnell and Josh Hafetz are in charge of the prosecution.