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Illegal immigrant who allegedly shot 2 NYPD officers at 'point-blank range' indicted on 20 charges

Illegal immigrant who allegedly shot 2 NYPD officers at 'point-blank range' indicted on 20 charges

An illegal Venezuelan migrant charged with shooting two New York City Police Department officers in Queens this month was indicted by a grand jury on Wednesday.

Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz announced that 19-year-old Bernardo Raul Castro Mata was arraigned on 20 charges, including two counts of first- and second-degree attempted murder; two counts of first-degree attempted assault; two counts of attempted aggravated assault on a police officer; two counts of second-degree criminal possession of a weapon; four counts of second-degree assault; resisting arrest; second degree obstruction of governmental administration; reckless driving; driving a vehicle the wrong way on a one-way road; operating a motorcycle without a helmet; and operating a motorcycle without license plates.

The charges stem from a June 3 incident in which NYPD officers tried to pull Mata over for driving the wrong way on a one-way street when he allegedly shot two officers – one point-blank in the chest and the other in the thigh.

"An attempt on the lives of two police officers simply making a traffic stop should offend every New Yorker. The grand jury returned serious charges against the defendant, including two counts of attempted murder in the first degree," Katz said. "The defendant is accused of shooting two New York City police officers at point-blank range after they attempted to stop him from driving the wrong way down a one-way street in East Elmhurst."


Katz’s office provided new details about the incident in a press release on Wednesday.

At about 1:40 a.m. on June 3, NYPD officers Christopher Abreu and Richard Yarusso, along with NYPD Sgt. Nicholas Condos were on patrol when they saw Mata, who was not wearing a helmet, driving an unregistered motorcycle the wrong way down Ditmars Boulevard near 90th Street in East Elmhurst.

Mata was also allegedly weaving the motorcycle onto the sidewalk in the presence of pedestrians.

Yarusso and Condos tried to approach Mata, who ditched the motorcycle and ran away, according to authorities.


Yarusso reportedly ran after Mata while Abreu followed in an unmarked vehicle. Condos also followed, though on the motorcycle Mata reportedly ditched.

Abreu caught up to Mata and tried to arrest him, but Mata resisted and began flailing his arms and body while reaching inside a bag he wore across his chest. Katz’s office also said that Yarusso tried to help arrest Mata, but Mata continued to resist.

During the struggle, the prosecutor said, Mata reportedly pulled a gun out of his cross-body bag and shot Yarusso in the lower chest at point-blank range, but the officer’s bullet-resistant vest stopped the bullet.


Mata also allegedly shot Abreu in the upper right thigh, at which point the law enforcement officer fired back, striking Mata in the foot and ankle area.

After being shot, Mata dropped the gun and was placed in handcuffs.

Both officers were taken to a nearby hospital where they were treated for their injuries and released.

Investigators at the scene recovered a loaded Hi-Point .380-caliber pistol as well as two deformed fired bullets, nine bullet fragments, three discharged .380-caliber shell casings and four 9 mm discharged shell casings.

If Mata is convicted on the top charge of first-degree attempted murder, he could face up to 40 years behind bars.

Supreme Court Justice Kenneth Holder ordered Mata to return to court on Sept. 18.

Police said Mata entered the country illegally last July near El Paso, Texas, and was staying at a former airport hotel-turned-migrant shelter in the Elmhurst section of Queens.

Citing sources, the New York Post reported that Mata has a tattoo that signals to investigators he could be a member of Venezuela's "bloodthirsty" Tren de Aragua gang.

Fox News Digital's Danielle Wallace contributed to this report.


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