What to Know
- Three NYPD officers were hospitalized after what Commissioner Dermot Shea called a "cowardly and unprovoked" knife attack on a cop in Brooklyn Wednesday night
- The attack happened around 11:45 p.m. when an officer radioed for help on Flatbush and Church streets
- 22 shots were fired in the fray; the suspect was hit eight times and remains hospitalized in critical condition
Authorities investigating Wednesday night's stabbing of an NYPD officer in Brooklyn are looking into whether it was a terror-inspired attack, law enforcement sources said Thursday.
Three NYPD officers were hospitalized after what Commissioner Dermot Shea described as a "cowardly and unprovoked" assault. A terror-linked motivation is currently one theory for what may have happened, with the attack possibly having been inspired by ISIS, though nothing has been ruled in or out, the sources said. The assault happened during the seventh night of citywide -- and nationwide -- protests over police and race relations.
Three senior law enforcement sources identified the suspect as Dzenan Camovic, an immigrant from the Balkan region. One senior source said Camovic had recently shared anti-police sentiments on his social media feeds.
Two law enforcement officials said that while Camovic was not on law enforcement's radar, he may have been associated with individuals of concern.
Two officers had been on anti-looting patrol near Church and Flatbush avenues around 11:45 p.m. when law enforcement officials say the 20-year-old suspect slashed one of the cops in the neck with a knife. At some point, shots were fired and a nearby sergeant responded. When the sergeant got to the scene, one of the other officer's guns was in the suspect's hand, Shea said.
More gunfire went off. Shea said a total of 22 shots were fired. Two officers were struck in the hand. They and the stabbed cop were taken to a hospital in stable condition. The suspect was hit eight times and was said to be critically hurt. His name has not been released but police say he is from Brooklyn. Officials say he has no prior criminal record.
Investigators believe multiple officers fired their guns but it's unclear if the suspect fired the service weapon he grabbed from the officer who was stabbed. Law enforcement officials say the confrontation was captured on body cameras.
"We know we had a chaotic scene, with a knife recovered as well," Shea said. "Thank God we're not planning a funeral right now."
Mayor Bill de Blasio said Thursday that all three cops are expected to survive their injuries.
Aside from the 22 shell casings, all from department-issued guns, there were also “unfired bullets on the ground," according to officials. Shea says the NYPD is working with both the state and federal prosecutor at this point in the investigation. The FBI's Joint Terrorism Task Force has also joined the probe.
Separately from that probe, New Jersey's Office of Homeland Security and Preparedness issued a bulletin Thursday, cautioning that Islamic extremist groups were trying to exploit racial and other tensions in the United States to drive their ideologies.