An incarcerated former gang member and FBI informant was charged Friday with attempted murder in the stabbing last week of ex-Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin at a federal prison in Arizona. John Turscak stabbed Chauvin 22 times at the Federal Correctional Institution in Tucson and said he would have killed Chauvin had correctional officers not responded so quickly, federal prosecutors said. Turscak told investigators he thought about attacking Chauvin for about a month because the former officer, who was convicted of murdering George Floyd, is a high-profile inmate, prosecutors said. Turscak later denied wanting to kill Chauvin, prosecutors said, per the AP.
Turscak, who is serving a 30-year sentence for crimes committed while a member of the Mexican Mafia gang, is accused of attacking Chauvin with an improvised knife in the prison's law library around 12:30pm on Nov. 24. The Bureau of Prisons said employees stopped the attack and performed "life-saving measures." Chauvin was taken to a hospital for treatment. Turscak told FBI agents interviewing him after the assault that he attacked Chauvin on Black Friday as a symbolic connection to the Black Lives Matter movement, which garnered widespread support in the wake of Floyd's death, and the "Black Hand" symbol associated with the Mexican Mafia, prosecutors said.
Turscak, 52, is also charged with assault with intent to commit murder, assault with a dangerous weapon, and assault resulting in serious bodily injury, per the AP. The attempted murder and assault with intent to commit murder charges are each punishable by up to 20 years in prison. A lawyer for Turscak was not listed in court records; he has represented himself from prison in numerous court matters. After the stabbing, Turscak was moved to an adjacent federal penitentiary in Tucson, where he remained in custody on Friday, inmate records show. (Chauvin's family had complained about not being informed of developments by prison officials.
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