Sunday, June 16

Illegal immigrant from Venezuela shoots 2 NYC police officers during foot chase in Queens, authorities say

Two New York City police officers were shot early Monday while chasing a suspect, who authorities say is an illegal immigrant from Venezuela, while investigating a pattern of robberies involving suspects on scooters.

The shooting happened just before 1:45 a.m. at the intersection of 89th Street and 23rd Avenue in the Elmhurst neighborhood of Queens.

The two officers, part of the 115th Precinct’s public safety unit, attempted to pull over a male suspect driving a scooter the wrong way when the suspect began to flee on foot. During the foot chase, the suspect shot at the two officers, who returned fire.

One officer was shot in the stomach area of his bullet-proof vest, while the other officer was shot in the leg. Both officers were rushed to hospitals in stable condition and are expected to recover.

“Every day New Yorkers are not wearing this,” New York City Mayor Eric Adams said during a press conference from Elmhurst Hospital while holding a wounded officer’s bulletproof vest and pointing to a bullet hole in the front. 

“This is what we’re fighting every day,” Adams said, calling the shooting a “senseless act of violence” and a “total disregard for life.”

The suspect was also shot in his right ankle and also taken to a hospital. Police said the gun that the suspect used in the shooting was illegally possessed.

The suspect was identified as Bernardo Raul Castro Matta, a 19-year-old man from Venezuela, who police said entered the country illegally through Eagle Pass, Texas. He was currently residing at a former Courtyard Marriott hotel in Queens that is now being used as a migrant shelter, according to police.

While Castro Matta has no prior arrests in New York City, police said he is a suspect in multiple robbery patterns in Queens.

Police said that robbery suspects on scooters

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