An inmate accused of stabbing Derek Chauvin 22 times is charged with attempted murder

The inmate accused of attacking Derek Chauvin, the former police officer convicted in George Floyd’s killing, stabbed him approximately 22 times with an improvised knife in an attack the Arizona inmate had been contemplating for around a month, according to court documents.

According to the federal complaint, at approximately 12:30 p.m. local time on November 24, Chauvin was in the law library at the Federal Correctional Institution in Tucson when John Turscak, 52, attacked him, causing serious bodily injury.

“Federal corrections offices immediately responded and deployed OC spray to subdue Turscak,” the criminal complaint added.

Turscak, who has been charged with attempted murder, told the corrections officers he would have killed Chauvin had they not responded so quickly, according to the complaint.

“Turscak stated that his attack of (Derek Chauvin) on Black Friday was symbolic with the Black Lives Matter movement and the ‘Black Hand’ symbol associated with the Mexican Mafia criminal organization,” the complaint said.

Turscak has been charged with three other counts, including assault with intent to commit murder, assault with a dangerous weapon and assault resulting in serious bodily injury.

“Attempted murder and assault with intent to commit murder violations each carry maximum penalties of 20 years’ incarceration, while assault with a dangerous weapon and assault resulting in serious bodily injury each carry maximum penalties of 10 years’ incarceration,” according to a news release from the District of Arizona’s US Attorney’s Office.

Chauvin’s attorney, Gregory M. Erickson, said in a statement Sunday that Chauvin was being treated at a local hospital’s trauma care facility and his condition has since improved enough that he has been returned to prison custody for follow-up care.

“His family is very concerned about the facility’s capacity to protect Derek from further harm,” Erickson said. “They remain unassured that any changes have been made to the faulty procedures that allowed Derek’s attack to occur in the first place.”

The attorney said Chauvin has confirmed to his family that the events laid out in the complaint are accurate, but noted it is still unclear how the alleged attacker obtained the materials used to make the improvised knife.

“Why was Derek allowed into the law library without a guard in close enough proximity to stop a possible attack? His family continues to wonder,” Erikson said.

Chauvin is serving two concurrent sentences in Floyd’s 2020 murder. He was convicted in April 2021 on state charges of second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter. He received a 22-and-a-half-year sentence.

The former Minneapolis police officer pleaded guilty months later to federal charges of depriving Floyd of his civil rights and was sentenced to 21 years in prison.

On May 25, 2020, Chauvin, who is White, knelt on Floyd’s neck and back for more than nine minutes after officers responded to reports suspecting Floyd used a counterfeit $20 at a Minneapolis corner store. Floyd, a 46-year-old Black man, was handcuffed and lying face down on a street as he pleaded he couldn’t breathe.

Floyd’s death sparked nationwide protests that spread around the globe over racial injustice and police treatment of people of color, particularly of Black Americans in the US.

A Minnesota Department of Human Rights investigation revealed the city and its police department engaged in “a pattern or practice of race discrimination,” according to a 2022 report.

CNN’s Josh Campbell, Evan Perez, Katelyn Polantz and Hannah Rabinowitz contributed to this report.

This story has been updated with additional information.

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