Who Is Raul Castro-Mata? Venezuelan Migrant Who Shot Two NYPD Cops Recently Crossed Into US Illegally Via Eagle Pass

While Castro-Mata has no prior arrests in New York City, police suspect he is associated with a group that uses mopeds and scooters to carry out violent robberies.

A teenage Venezuelan migrant has been arrested for allegedly shooting two young NYPD officers after they attempted to stop him while he was riding a scooter. Police approached 19-year-old Bernardo Raul Castro-Mata as he drove an unregistered motorbike the wrong way down a street at 89th Street and 23rd Avenue in Elmhurst at about 1:40 a.m.

According to the NYPD, he allegedly responded by firing at the officers with an unlicensed gun before fleeing on foot around 1:40 am. One officer was hit in the leg, while the other was struck in their bulletproof vest. The suspect quickly abandoned the moped and fled on foot for several blocks, police said.

Violence by Migrants Again

Raul Castro-Mata
Raul Castro-Mata X

During the chase, the teenager allegedly drew an illegal gun and fired multiple rounds at the officers. Officer Christopher Abreu, 26, was shot in the leg, while his partner, Richard Yarusso, also 26, was hit in the front of his bulletproof vest.

At least one officer returned fire, hitting the suspect in the ankle.

In the immediate aftermath of the shooting, the officer who was shot in his vest was "more concerned about his partner" and urgently worked to apply a tourniquet to Abreu's leg to stop the bleeding, according to Police Benevolent Association President Patrick Hendry.

While Castro-Mata has no prior arrests in New York City, police suspect he is associated with a group that uses mopeds and scooters to carry out violent robberies.

"We're looking at him for several other robbery patterns in the Queens area where he does have other co-defendants," NYPD Chief of Detectives Joseph Kenny said during a briefing Monday morning.

In one instance, he is alleged to have assaulted a woman and stolen her credit card, which was subsequently used at a smoke shop in Queens, according to NYPD records.

Legally Illegal

Raul Castro-Mata
The gun used by Raul Castro-Mata to shoot two NYPD cops X

Castro-Mata illegally entered the US in July last year through Eagle Pass, Texas, Kenny said. He has been residing at a migrant shelter on Ditmars Boulevard, near the location of the shooting.

During the confrontation with officers at 89th Street and 23rd Avenue in Elmhurst, the teenager was also shot in the ankle. He underwent surgery on Monday morning at NewYork-Presbyterian Queens.

Photographs captured Castro-Mata looking stunned as medics transported him in an ambulance on a stretcher, his arms handcuffed behind his back.

Another photo showed three officers carrying him away by his arms and legs as he winced in pain. The abandoned scooter was visible amid the chaos at the scene.

The NYPD officers involved in the shootout were seen leaving Elmhurst Hospital during daylight several hours later. Police described them as 'young officers' who had been with the department for two and five years, respectively.

Onlookers applauded as one officer was wheeled out in a wheelchair before getting into a police van, while the other walked out and shook hands with colleagues.