United Kingdom

Brooklyn man, 20, who 'stabbed police officer is immigrant with possible ties to terrorism'

The 20-year-old Brooklyn man who stabbed a police officer in the neck and then stole his handgun before he was shot eight times by nearby cops is an immigrant from the Balkan region who is being investigated for ties to terrorism.

Two other police officers were shot in the hand during the incident late on Wednesday, though it is unclear if they were shot by the suspect with the gun he stole from the ambushed cop or if they were hit by gunfire from responding officers.

The suspect has been identified as Dzenan Camovic. The FBI announced on Thursday that it is taking part in the investigation.

The incident took place late Wednesday near the intersection of Church Street and Flatbush Avenue in Brooklyn, where officers were patrolling the area to prevent looting.

According to police, one officer was ambushed by a man who walked up behind him and stabbed him in the neck.

The New York Police Department on Thursday released an image of a knife that investigators claim was used to stab a police officer in Brooklyn late on Wednesday night

The man then took the policeman’s handgun. Officers who were on duty nearby rushed to the scene and found the suspect with the gun.

A total of 22 shots were fired, according to authorities.

Two police officers were shot in the hand, according to NYPD Commissioner Dermot Shea.

All three officers are recovering from non-life threatening injuries at Kings County Hospital in Brooklyn.

Camovic, was shot eight times by officers who responded to the scene. He is listed in critical condition.

Now authorities are looking into whether Camovic may have ties to terrorism, WNBC-TV is reporting.

Camovic posted several anti-police messages on his social media, according to investigators.

Sources told WNBC-TV that Camovic, who has no criminal record, ‘may have been associated with individuals of concern.’

Shea said that local investigators are working with state and federal authorities.

'Last night's cowardly attack on the NYPD left one officer stabbed and two shot,' the FBI said in a statement.

'The FBI New York office is fully engaged. We respond as if one of our own was attacked, and we will use every federal statue available to hold the perpetrator accountable.' 

The FBI's Joint Terrorism Task Force has also joined the probe, according to WNBC-TV.

The bloodshed happened just before midnight in the hours after an 8pm curfew that was intended to quell unrest over the death of George Floyd in Minnesota.   

'What we know at this point and time is that it appears to be a completely, cowardly, despicable, unprovoked attack on a defenseless police officer and thank God we aren't planning a funeral right now,' said Shea. 

Police gather at the scene where two New York City police officers were shot and another stabbed in a confrontation late Wednesday evening in Brooklyn last night in New York City

An ambulance drives through the scene where two NYPD cops were shot and another stabbed in Brooklyn last night

NYPS cops swarm the scene in Brooklyn last night, after two of their colleagues were shot and another stabbed in the neck 

The FBI announced on Thursday that it is 'fully engaged' in the investigation

Shea noted that it was one of several attacks on police officers in recent days, including one in which a driver plowed into a police sergeant who was trying to stop looting in the Bronx and a lieutenant who was struck in the helmet by a brick during a brawl with protesters in Manhattan.

There were peaceful marches and protests throughout the day Wednesday, but police moved in to break them up when the city's curfew took effect at 8pm. 

Mayor Bill de Blasio, who appeared with Shea outside the hospital where the officers were being treated, called it a 'very tough night' and lauded the officers for their bravery.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo says the ambush shows the difficult balance police must strike in keeping the peace. 

'They have an impossible job, and they need support,' Cuomo told Long Island News Radio. 

'They're out there, they're getting hurt, last night again, they are the best, they are the best. God bless them because I don't know that I would want to do the job that they're doing now.'

Police gather at the scene where two New York City police officers were shot in a confrontation late Wednesday evening in Brooklyn last night in New York City

Police gather at the scene where two New York City police officers were shot in a confrontation late Wednesday evening in Brooklyn last night in New York City

A couple watch as police gather at the scene where two New York City police officers were shot in a confrontation late Wednesday evening in Brooklyn last night in New York City

Shea didn't speculate on the motive of the stabber, who was not identified, but Police Benevolent Association President Patrick Lynch blamed anti-police rhetoric during the protests.

'Are we surprised? Are we surprised we're here in the hospital again. Did we doubt because of the rhetoric we're hearing, the anti-police rhetoric that's storming our streets, are we surprised that we got this call? I'm not. We said it's going to happen,' he said. 

A witness said he saw police 'hiding behind their vehicle' as the shooting unfolded last night.   

The bloodshed last night happened a block away from a place where demonstrators and police engaged over the weekend in an hours-long standoff, during which a police car was burned and protesters beaten with batons. (Pictured: Protesters gather outside the NYC mayor's residence yesterday)

Many took to social media to condemn police officers' heavy handed tactics on peaceful protesters on Wednesday  

A spokesperson for the mayor's office said Bill de Blasio was on his way to Kings `County Hospital to visit the officers injured last night 

'I saw them shooting and then two those officers started hiding behind their vehicle, like they were trying to avoid being shot,' Jean Jones, a resident of Flatbush, told the Post. 

'I just heard gunshots, at least 16 if I was being conservative.' 

New York City has been roiled by days of protests over police brutality, and the spot where the shooting took place is just a block away from a place where demonstrators and police engaged over the weekend in an hours-long standoff, during which a police car was burned and protesters beaten with batons.

A neighborhood resident, though, said there was no protest in the area at the time of the shooting, and it wasn't clear if there was any connection to the unrest.

The area was filled with police personnel and vehicles in the hour after the shooting.  

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