Illegal immigrant who ambushed officers, stabbed one in the neck and opened fire on others had terror ties

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NEW YORK, NY – It’s an update that should come as a surprise to nobody.

In June, Law Enforcement Today reported on an incident where Dzenan Camovic stalked NYPD Officer Yayonfrant Jean Pierre, eventually stabbing him in the neck. 

Camovic took his firearm and fired on other officers who returned fire, striking him and ending the fight.  Now, state and federal prosecutors allege that Camovic had interest in terror groups.

In June, Camovic, an illegal alien from Bosnia, is alleged to have been the person on video attacking Pierre and other officers. 

Initially, police thought the attack had something to do with the ongoing riots in the area stemming from George Floyd’s death in police custody. 

However, after investigation, now federal and state prosecutors are claiming that the attacks were stemmed by Camovic’s idolization of terror groups.

In the indictment for attempted aggravated murder and federal charges of theft and unlawful possession of a firearm, police allege that Camovic told a nurse, while he was recuperating from gunshot wounds, that his “religion made me do it.”   

Robert Stahl, Camovic’s attorney, refutes that Camovic committed the crimes out of his desire to join any terror group. 

Stahl said that Camovic “is a troubled young man in a number of respects, as opposed to having any terrorist or Islamic leanings.” 

Prosecutors allege that Camovic had texted a friend prior to the attack that he would “be awhile.”  They also went through his phone and found deleted images of references to the Islamic State in Arabic s well as mentions of a magazine that has been used to radicalize and recruit people in the past.

Prosecutors contend that Camovic had digital media which contained audio and video files of lectures and sermons that were given by deceased al-Qaeda leader, Anwar al-Awlaki. 

In addition, an unnamed police source advised that Camovic had been inquiring about the permissibility of killing innocent people regarding his faith.  He had also been, for approximately a year prior to the attack, expressed interests in ISIS as well as other terror groups out of Syria.

US Attorney General William Barr released a statement pertaining to Camovic, saying that he “used the cover of chaos” (riots over George Floyd), to conduct a “premeditated and cowardly” attack on NYPD officers.  Barr continued:

“If not for the heroism and bravery of the responding NYPD officers who returned fire and took the assailant down early in the attack, untold additional officers and innocents could have been killed or injured.”

Police advise that Camovic has no criminal history since he immigrated into the United States as a small child.  Camovic, according to Stahl, was brought here because of the unrest that is occurring in Bosnia. 

Federal authorities have placed a detainer hold on Camovic which will prevent him from being released pending the outcome of the criminal cases.  Stahl advised they will not contest the detainer hold, stating:

“It’s not like he snuck into the country or something, but his immigration status is perilous because he’s stateless.”

 

The incident that Camovic was involved in occurred on June 3rd where he had stabbed Pierre and started chasing NYPD Officer randy Ramnarine. 

After he started chasing Ramnarine, he quickly returned to Pierre which caused Ramnarine to open fire.  Ramnarine was able to fire two shots at Camovic and Pierre was able to fire six times. 

However, Camovic was able to successfully take Pierre’s firearm fired on Ramnarine and other officers.

Ramnarine and another officer were struck by the gunfire and a responding sergeant was able to return fire, striking Camovic, ending the fight.  Camovic was immediately treated for his wounds and was transported to the hospital with injuries to his face, legs, and abdomen area. 

Stahl has been ordered to undergo a full psychiatric evaluation by a judge. 

Man found dead after being arrested for planting bombs filled with nails, pellets, screws: ‘A would-be terrorist”

WEST PALM BEACH, FL – He’s described as a would-be terrorist.  Now he’s dead.

Police say 34-year-old Gregory Haasze was recently arrested in West Palm Beach for making homemade bombs. While being held in custody at the jail, he was found dead on Aug. 15 just before 9 p.m.

First – the back story.

Boynton Beach Police received a call on Aug. 12 regarding a loud noise around 8 p.m.

While they were investigating the noise, they located pieces of a detonated bomb made from PVC piping. As they continued their search, they found several other unexploded devices behind the Oakwood Square Shopping Center near the Boynton Beach Mall. 

Boynton Beach Police notified the bomb squad at the Palm Beach Sheriff’s Office to assist in disabling the devices.

As the bomb squad was working at making the devices safe, several buildings in and around the area had to be evacuated for the occupants’ safety.

As the police were investigating the bombs, they found a neighbor who informed them that Haasze was known for making bombs and exploding them in vacant parking lots.

Police also located a box in a nearby trash bin which had Haasze’s name imprinted along with several bombs and gunpowder.

During their investigation, Haasze approached the police and told them he was why they were there investigating.

Haasze told officers that he had been making explosive devices for years and some of the devices located during their search he had made on the Fourth of July.  Haasze stated that he never had any intention of harming anyone with the devices.

When questioned why some of the devices had nails, pellets, and screws, he stated those were in the bombs to remove tree stumps.

Based on the devices being located and the admissions by Haasze, Boynton Beach Police took him into custody for 26 counts of making and possessing an explosive device. A judge set bail at $130,000 for the charged offenses. 

Police authored a search warrant for Haasze’s residence and executed that warrant on Aug. 13. During that search, police allege they located several materials that could be used to create explosive devices.  They also located copper, colored metal pellets, and a shipping box that had explosives written with his name on the label. 

Boynton Beach Police advised that the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives had assumed the investigation on a federal level. The federal criminal complaint was filed in court on Aug. 14.   

On Aug. 15, Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office advised that a corrections deputy found Haasze unresponsive, with a torn bedsheet tied around his neck. CPR was attempted and neither the medical staff nor Palm Beach County Fire Rescue was able to revive him. He was pronounced dead around 9 p.m. 

While the Medical Examiner will not list a cause of death for at least six weeks, all appearances as of now indicate that the death was a suicide. If the Medical Examiner notates anything suspicious with the autopsy, a further investigation would be warranted. 

The Palm Beach Sheriff’s Office would not release much information, such as if he was alone in the cell at the time of the death or if he had been on suicide watch. 

This is the second reported death out of Palm Beach County Jail this year.  In March, Travis William Fletcher was taken into custody for aggravated assault charges. Less than a week after his arrest, he was found unresponsive in the jail.

Efforts to revive him failed and he was pronounced deceased. The Medical Examiner later ruled his death as acute fentanyl and acetyl fentanyl intoxication. The case of death was ruled as accidental. The Medical Examiner also noted that he had two puncture marks, most likely caused by a needle, in his right arm. 

It’s not the first would-be terrorist in Florida.  Let’s flash back to May:

TAMPA, FL.- In a story that will likely come as not a shock to anyone, the U.S. Department of Justice announced that a 23-year-old Tampa man was planning to carry out a terrorist attack on behalf of the Islamic state of Iraq.

The DOJ announced on Wednesday the criminal complaint against Muhammed Momtaz Al-Azhari.

The complaint charged Al-Azhari with “attempting to provide material support or resources to a designated foreign terrorist organization,” in this case ISIS, according to The Tampa Patch.

The complaint alleged that Al-Azhari supported ISIS and he planned and attempted to carry out an attack in the Tampa Bay area. He had researched potential targets throughout the Tampa area, including Honeymoon Island in Dunedin, the Tampa FBI field office and Bayshore Boulevard in Tampa.

The DOJ said that he had rehearsed portions of the attack, and even practiced making statements on the video camera on his iPhone, which he planned to release after the attack.

“Know America. Today is your emergency. Today we kill from you guys like you killed from us,” was among several statements he made, the affidavit stated. “This is revenge for Muslims.”

In yet another video, Al-Azhari, while wearing a face mask was pretending to point a gun at someone on the floor, while saying:

“Hey you, get on the floor. Get on the floor now. Don’t you move, don’t you move, I’m telling you, I will kill you.”

A third video showed Al-Azhari displaying guns he had purchased, singing:

“We have a local silencer and bullets are a 9mm. To raise to the highest levels is a must for every crusader.

This is 9mm, thank God. Will be used against God’s enemies. And this 22. Of course, 22 of a hundredth of inches, not millimeter. I ask God the almighty to enable me and give me a duty that God will be happy with, and God is able to do that.”

According to News Channel 8 in Tampa, Al-Azhari had a criminal history that includes prior terrorism charges in Saudi Arabia, the DOJ said.

 

During the course of the investigation, the DOJ noted, the suspect attempted to purchase multiple guns over the course of the investigation, while also trying to acquire a Glock pistol and a silencer.

It was after he purchased the guns that he was taken into custody. He also had in his possession an AK-47 style rifle.

The FBI was also notified by the U.S. Postal Service that Al-Azhari had purchased weapons parts on eBay and had them mailed to his home in Tampa.

The DOJ said that records from eBay showed a purchase on April 20 where he bought a PF940v2 polymer pistol frame and jig kit from an eBay user in Texas. He also tried to purchase a Glock 19 from an agent who was posing as an eBay seller.

Prior to the end of the conversation, Al—Azhari asked the undercover agent, “Hey bro, you know, do you also have like a baby AK or something like that?”

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The suspect also showed purchases of military tactical items from an online shopping site, Wish, which included a camera drone, a bullet-proof military tactical vest, a military high-powered laser pointer and a fuel trap solvent filter, which is designed to be attached to the muzzle of a firearm barrel.

Al-Azhari also is reported to have expressed appreciation for the shooter in the Pulse nightclub incident, Omar Mateen, and expressed a desire to carry out a similar type of incident.

 Al-Azhari, during a conversation with a confidential informant, was quoted as saying:

“That’s how I want to die, to be honest. I don’t want to take four or five, no. I want to take at least 50, you know, like brother Omar Mateen in Orlando did. He took 49 with him.”

Al-Azhari worked at a Home Depot, where FBI agents also interviewed some of his coworkers. One supervisor told the FBI that Al-Azhari “often spoke of Islam at work and conveyed views that were passionate and aggressive. In reference to Sept. 11 attacks, Al-Azhari related that he believed that Americans got what they deserved that day.”

Yet another co-worker said the suspect kept a 9mm handgun in the center console of his vehicle.

The FBI observed a court order to search Al-Azhari’s phone, where they discovered evidence that the suspect had visited a messaging application chat room, which posted articles and videos on how to manufacture bombs, along with other materials used in bomb manufacturing, such as phosphate hypochlorite sodium chlorine, hypochlorite sodium chlorox, trinitrotoluene and other explosive materials.

Al-Azhari also downloaded PDF’s on “How to make a bomb at home,” “Mujahid Guide in Forensic Research” and “4 Easy Ways to Make a Suicide Belt.” He also had posted a link to an article on how to use IED’s in warfare, types of IED’s and booby trapping.

Al-Azhari initially came under FBI surveillance in May 2019 when he began to make statements about his support for ISIS, as well as wanting to take revenge on the US for the imprisonment of Muslims, including those who  fought for ISIS.

In the Saudi Arabia incident, he was convicted in 2015 for terror-related crimes, which included attempting to join a terrorist group. He was, according to the FBI planning to travel to Syria for the purposes of participating in a jihad and join a terrorist group fighting the Syrian government. He was imprisoned for possession of extremist propaganda, holding extremist views and attempting to join a terrorist organization, in this case Jaysh al Case.

Al-Azhari was working in conjunction with two other people in that case, including his father. He served three years in prison in Saudi Arabia, and then “was removed” to the U.S. in December 2018, the FBI said. He initially lived in California and then moved to Tampa Bay in June 2019. It is not known how or why he was “removed” to the U.S.

Assistant Attorney General for National Security John C. Demers said:

“We are grateful for the quick work of our partners at the FBI to apprehend Al-Azhari before he could carry out his attack.”

“This case demonstrates the department’s commitment to stand vigilante against the threat of terrorism and violent extremism in all its forms.”

“Their coordination and cooperation in this matter allowed us to interrupt a serious threat, without harm to anyone,” said Maria Chapa Lopez, U.S. Attorney for the Middle District of Florida.

“From Mr. Al-Azhari’s attempt to acquire firearms through unlawful channels to his desire to provide material support to a designated foreign terrorist organization, it was clear Mr. Al-Azhari’s intention was to carry out an act of violence,” said Assistant Director Jill Sanborn of the FBI’s Counterterrorism Division. “The FBI and the Joint Terrorism Task forces across the country will continue to use all of their legal authorities to prevent a potential act of terrorism in the United States, and elsewhere.”

The investigation was a multi-agency effort, with Special Agent in Charge of the FBI Tampa Division Michael F. McPherson leading the investigation.

They were assisted in the effort by Homeland Security, the Tampa Police Department, the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office, the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office, the Pasco Sheriff’s Office, the St. Petersburg Police Department, the Clearwater Police Department, and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.

“The primary mission of the FBI is to protect the American public from a terrorist attack,” McPherson said. “Today’s announcement of the arrest of Muhammed Momtaz Al-Azahari is proof we are committed to that pledge.

“I commend the 18 federal, state and local member agencies who comprise the FBI Tampa’s Joint Terrorism Task Force for working day and night to prevent the loss of life in the Tampa Bay community. We were also fortunate to gain the cooperation of multiple citizens who willingly and bravely provided their assistance during this investigation.

“This strong bond between law enforcement and the public allowed us to disrupt this threat.”


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