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(Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

OAN’s Abril Elfi
2:08 PM – Tuesday, June 4, 2024

Two New York Police Department (NYPD) officers were shot while confronting a suspect in Queens.

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On Monday, two officers were injured after chasing down a suspect on a moped on 23rd Avenue in East Elmhurst at 1:40 a.m. 

After the suspect took off and began firing at them, the officers returned fire and struck him in the foot before he was arrested.

Officer Christopher Abreu, 26, and Officer Richard Yarusso, 26, were both shot by the suspect. 

Abreu, who is a five-year veteran, was shot in the leg, while Yarusso was hit in the vest and grazed in the stomach.

Mayor Eric Adams (D-N.Y.) spoke at a press conference where he held up a vest and showed where the officer had been hit. 

“This is a bullet hole because of this vest, a young police officer is going home. Senseless act of violence, a total disregard for life,” Adams said. “Our officers responded with a level of discipline and focused professionalism, and today we thank God.”

The officers were both taken to Elmhurst Hospital and have since been released.

“They worked hard on our officers; they worked with great skill,” New York City Police Commissioner Edward Caban said of the hospital workers. “We know it could have turned out quite differently.”

Caban said both officers are in good spirits, and “it is only by the grace of God that we are not here talking about a tragedy.”

“The officer shot in the vest was more concerned about his partner shot in the leg, getting a tourniquet,” said Patrick Hendry, NYC PBA president. “That’s what partners do in the NYPD; they save each other’s lives.”

The 19-year-old suspect, Bernardo Raul Castro-Mata, was carried by police to an ambulance and taken to NY Presbyterian Hospital in Queens. The gun was recovered at the scene. 

The suspect has been identified as a Venezuelan migrant who reportedly entered the U.S. through Eagle Pass, Texas, in July 2023.

According to the police, Castro-Mata is a suspect in several ongoing robberies in Queens. 

“Similar scooters and bikes are being used citywide to commit crimes; these crimes include shootings, robberies, and phone snatches,” said NYPD Detective Bureau Chief Joseph Kenny.

A statement from ICE claims that ICE Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) New York City have launched an immigration detainer against Castro-Mata with Queens Central Booking.

Castro-Mata remains in the custody of the NYPD.

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