Venezuelan illegal immigrant in New York shoots two police officers

QUEENS, NEW YORK, NY— Two 26-year-old NYPD officers were shot in the early hours of Monday near 23rd Avenue and 82nd Street in Queens after they attempted to pull over a wrong-way driver on a moped while investigating a string of robberies involving mopeds and scooters in the area.

New reporting from NBC revealed that officers Richard Yarusso and Christopher Abreu pursued a suspect identified as a Venezuelan illegal immigrant,19-year-old Bernardo Raul Castro Mata, on foot when the suspect turned and opened fire upon them after fleeing for several blocks. The officers returned fire striking Castro Mata in the right ankle before successfully taking him into custody.

During the chaotic chase, Yarusso was shot in the torso, protected by his bulletproof vest, while Abreu was struck in the leg. The suspect was treated at a nearby hospital and later taken to jail, both officers Yarusso and Abreu were later released from the hospital.

According to The New York Post, Castro Mata was allowed to remain in the United States after crossing the border illegally at Eagle Pass, TX in 2023 and eventually made his way to New York where he resided at the Marriot Hotel in Queens at the taxpayer's expense. The outlet reported that Castro Mata was armed with a Hi-Point .380 pistol that he drew from a fanny pack per police sources.
One law enforcement source reportedly complained, "We’re getting shot at by kids now."

Police Commissioner Edward A. Caban told reporters in an early morning press conference “This could have gone a very different way.” New York Democratic Mayor Eric Adams decried the incident as “A senseless act of violence. Total disregard for life." The former NYPD officer praised the police saying, “Our officers responded with a level of discipline, a level of focus, a level of professionalism. Today we thank God.”

New York PBA President Patrick Hendry angrily asked reporters, "The question has to be asked, why did this individual run? Why did he go on that scooter?"

“Why did he take off? Why didn’t he stop for the police? Why was he carrying a firearm? Why wasn’t he afraid to shoot New York City police officers?” he continued. “We’ve been in courtrooms across this city, demanding change, packing those courtrooms, demanding change to the criminal justice system.’’

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