Tuesday 4 June 2024

Suspect In Shooting Of 2 NYPD Officers Is An Illegal Immigrant From Venezuela

 Two New York City cops were shot early Monday morning by a 19-year-old Venezuelan man who illegally entered the United States last year, according to law enforcement. 

Investigators said that the NYPD officers were shot by Bernardo Raul Castro-Mata after they attempted to stop him for driving a moped down the wrong side of the street when they were investigating a robbery in Queens at 1:40 a.m. After police attempted to speak with him, Castro-Mata ran away on foot and fired “multiple times” at the officers, hitting one in his bulletproof vest and the other in the leg, according to New York City Police Commissioner Eddie Caban. The officers responded, shooting Castro-Mata in the ankle. 

The officers, Christopher Abreu, and Richard Yarusso, were taken to a nearby hospital where they were in stable condition. Castro-Mata was also expected to survive after having surgery on his foot.

“This morning we get another reminder of everything our officers do and what they do to put themselves on the line to make sure our city is safe. Every day they go toward the danger,” Caban said at a press conference. “This could have gone a very different way.”

New York Democratic Mayor Eric Adams called the incident a “senseless act of violence” and said the suspect showed a “total disregard for life.” 

According to NYPD Detective Joseph Kenny, Castro-Mata illegally crossed into Eagle Pass, Texas, in July 2023. Kenny added that Castro-Mata’s current address was at a hotel that had been turned into housing for migrants. 

Castro-Mata was suspected of being involved in several robberies, including one where a woman was attacked and her credit card was stolen. “We’re looking at him for several other robbery patterns in the Queens area where he does have other co-defendants,” Kenny told reporters. 


Patrick Hendry, president of the Police Benevolent Association in New York City, said that his union would ensure justice is served. 

“When the cameras are on, everyone is doing their job holding criminals accountable. When the cameras are off and people aren’t paying attention the criminal justice system is putting police officers and the public at risk,” he said. 

New York has been flooded with illegal immigrants in recent years, with thousands being bussed in from Texas. The influx has placed a strain on city budgets, with both police and education funds being cut to help accommodate migrants.

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