Posted on December 4, 2023

Inmate Charged With Stabbing Derek Chauvin Is Ex-Mexican Mafia L.A. Gang Leader, Prosecutors Say

Michael R. Sisak and Michael Balsamo, Associated Press, December 1, 2023

Derek Chauvin was stabbed in prison 22 times by a former gang leader and onetime FBI informant who told investigators he targeted the ex-Minneapolis police officer because of his notoriety for murdering George Floyd, federal prosecutors said Friday.

John Turscak was charged with attempted murder a week after the Nov. 24 attack at the Federal Correctional Institution in Tucson. He told correctional officers he would have killed Chauvin had they not responded so quickly, prosecutors said.

Turscak, who is serving a 30-year sentence for crimes committed while a member of the Mexican Mafia gang in Los Angeles, told investigators he thought about attacking Chauvin for about a month because he is a high-profile inmate, but denied wanting to kill him, prosecutors said.

Turscak is accused of attacking Chauvin with an improvised knife in the prison’s law library around 12:30 p.m. on Nov. 24, the day after Thanksgiving. Correctional officers used pepper spray to subdue Turscak, prosecutors said. The Bureau of Prisons said employees 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 murder in 2020, and the “Black Hand” symbol associated with the Mexican Mafia, prosecutors said.

In addition to attempted murder, Turscak, 52, is charged with assault with intent to commit murder, assault with a dangerous weapon and assault resulting in serious bodily injury. The attempted murder and assault with intent to commit murder charges are each punishable by up to 20 years in prison. Turscak is scheduled to complete his current sentence in 2026.