A Commack man who federal prosecutors had said vowed to wage “violent jihad” was detained permanently Monday afternoon after new court papers allege he threatened to behead his mother, attack federal agents, and attempted to cut off his tattoos with a knife.
U.S. Magistrate Anne Shields ordered the permanent detention of Elvis Redzepagic, 26, after a brief hearing in federal court in Central Islip.
Shields acted after federal prosecutors said in the new papers that Redzepagic recently “has engaged in a series of actions which highlight the danger he presents to the community, in general, and himself, his family and law enforcement authorities.”
In the court papers, Eastern District prosecutors Saritha Komatireddy and Artie McConnell said Redzepagic’s family had called 911 twice to ask that he be removed from their home because of violent behavior, including attempting to cut his tattoos off with a knife and threatening to behead his mother.
“Finally, upon his federal arrest for the instant offense, on March, 3, 2017, the defendant told one of the arresting officers, ‘I really feel like stabbing you right now,’ ” the prosecutors wrote.
Redzepagic’s attorneys, federal public defenders LaKeytria Felder and Deirdre von Dornum, said in a statement after the hearing in U.S. District Court: “We are putting together a bail package for Mr. Redzepagic . . . We hope that he will be able to receive the mental health and substance abuse treatment he so badly needs.
Given Mr. Redzepagic’s cooperation with government authorities, we hope that the government will support our efforts to help this young U.S. citizen who went astray because of mental illness and drug use.”
Redzepagic was born in the United States, sources said.
No one from Redzepagic’s family was apparently present in the courtroom. Sources have said his parents were originally from the Balkan Republic of Montenegro.
According to a federal arrest warrant, Redzepagic said he had twice unsuccessfully attempted to join a cousin, who was a jihadist in Syria. Sources said Redzepagic does have an unnamed cousin who was a leader in a Syria terrorist organization.
A federal magistrate in Brooklyn issued a temporary order of detention on Saturday for Redzepagic, who told investigators he was “prepared to strap a bomb on and sacrifice himself,” according to a criminal complaint unsealed at the time.
The federal complaint stated that after an earlier arrest on an unrelated minor charge, Redzepagic told Suffolk police, “I’m going to leave this country and I’m going to come back with an Army — Islam is coming.”
Investigators from the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force interviewed Redzepagic on Feb. 2 and 3, after Suffolk police arrested him on a marijuana possession charge.
Redzepagic said he decided to attempt to travel to Syria after attending “a pro-Isis mosque in Montenegro,” according to the federal complaint, and wanted to join the cousin, who he described as a battalion commander and follower of ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.
Unable to cross into Syria from Turkey in 2015, Redzepagic tried again in 2016, this time through Jordan, which deported him.
Investigators said they found numerous messages sent from Redzepagic’s Facebook account that include references to him wishing to fight for God and trying to enter Syria.
With William Murphy and Michael O’Keeffe