Two NYPD officers shot by Venezuelan migrant during robbery investigation

The 19-year-old suspect illegally entered the U.S. in 2023 and is linked to multiple robberies in Queens, say New York police.

Two NYPD officers shot by Venezuelan migrant during robbery investigation
via CNN
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Early Monday, two New York City police officers were shot by 19-year-old Bernardo Raul Castro-Mata, a Venezuelan man who illegally entered the United States last year, according to law enforcement officials. The incident occurred at 1:40 a.m. in Queens when the officers attempted to stop Castro-Mata for driving a moped on the wrong side of the street during a robbery investigation.

As the officers approached Castro-Mata, he fled on foot and fired "multiple times" at them, striking one officer in his bulletproof vest and the other in the leg, as stated by New York City Police Commissioner Eddie Caban.

The officers returned fire, hitting Castro-Mata in the ankle. Both officers, identified as Christopher Abreu and Richard Yarusso, were transported to a nearby hospital and are reported to be in stable condition. Castro-Mata underwent surgery on his foot and is expected to survive.

Commissioner Caban commended the bravery of the officers, stating, "Every day they go toward the danger. This could have gone a very different way." New York Democratic Mayor Eric Adams condemned the incident as a "senseless act of violence" and criticized the suspect's "total disregard for life."

NYPD Detective Joseph Kenny revealed to local news that Castro-Mata had illegally crossed into Eagle Pass, Texas, in July 2023 and was currently residing at a hotel converted into housing for migrants. Authorities suspect Castro-Mata's involvement in several robberies in the Queens area, including one where a woman was attacked and had her credit card stolen.

Patrick Hendry, president of the Police Benevolent Association in New York City, vowed to ensure justice is served, the Daily Wire reported“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. 

The incident highlights the strain on New York City's resources due to the influx of illegal immigrants in recent years, with thousands being bussed in from Texas. The situation has led to budget cuts for both police and education to accommodate the growing migrant population.

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