15-yr-old Venezuelan Teen Arrested in Times Square Shooting Incident

Teen had been residing at a migrant shelter in Manhattan since arriving in New York last fall

A 15-year-old boy was apprehended on Friday in connection with the shooting of a Brazilian tourist in Times Square, followed by firing shots at a police officer during his escape from the scene, according to officials.

Venezuelan teen Jesus Alejandro Rivas-Figueroa was tracked down by the US Marshals Joint Regional Fugitive Task Force and the NYPD after the robbery-gone-wrong on Thursday, February 8. Jesus was arrested on Friday, in less than 24 hours.

teen arrested

The arrest occurred approximately an hour after authorities announced during a press briefing that they were seeking the teenager, identified as Jesus Alejandro Rivas Figueroa, for his alleged involvement in the shooting of a 37-year-old woman who sustained a non-life-threatening injury to her leg. As of Friday afternoon, the victim had been discharged from the hospital, the police confirmed.

Officials stated that the teenager, originally from Venezuela, had been residing at a migrant shelter in Manhattan since arriving in New York last fall, among the multitude of individuals who have migrated to the city after crossing the United States' southern border.

He was taken into custody in Yonkers, officials disclosed, and is also a suspect in an armed robbery in the Bronx as well as another shooting incident in Times Square the previous month, said John Chell, the Police Department's chief of patrol.

He was crying. When he was apprehended, he was crying... Here he is committing these adult acts, that's something you don't expect a child to do, and then when he's apprehended, he's brought out in handcuffs crying," stated NYPD spokesman Carlos Nieves, as reported by the New York Post.

According to Nieves, Jesus may face charges as a juvenile for the attempted murder of a police officer. The case will be reviewed to determine whether it will be adjudicated in criminal or family court.

Chief Chell recounted that Figueroa, accompanied by a second 15-year-old and a 16-year-old, attempted to steal items from a JD Sports store on Broadway near West 42nd Street around 7 p.m. on Thursday. When confronted by a female security guard, Figueroa brandished what was described as a "very large handgun" and fired, hitting the tourist. He then fled, firing at an officer in the process. Despite the crowded area, officers refrained from returning fire.

"One of those bullets hits our cop last night, this is a whole different conversation we're having today," Chief Chell remarked, emphasizing the restraint exhibited by the officers.

One of Figueroa's companions was arrested at the scene, while the other was apprehended Friday morning, the police reported. All three individuals attended the same school, although it remains unclear whether they have legal representation.

Incidents of violence, particularly in Times Square, garner significant attention due to its status as a bustling shopping and entertainment hub, drawing tourists and locals alike.

Thursday's shooting adds to a series of recent high-profile incidents in Times Square. On January 27, a group of men, reportedly migrants, engaged in a confrontation with officers on West 42nd Street, resulting in minor injuries to two officers. Seven individuals were arrested, but released without bail, prompting criticism directed at Manhattan District Attorney Alvin L. Bragg.

Mr. Bragg announced on Thursday that seven men had been indicted on felony charges stemming from the altercation, based in part on video evidence showing men kicking officers during the scuffle. However, some footage raised questions about the initial account of the incident.

In another episode, during a Fox News segment on Tuesday addressing purported migrant-related crime, members of the Guardian Angels apprehended a man falsely identified as a migrant shoplifter. Authorities are currently investigating this incident.

This article was first published on February 11, 2024