2 NYPD officers injured in shootout with migrant on scooter in Queens

ByEyewitness News WABC logo
Monday, June 3, 2024
2 NYPD officers injured in shootout with migrant on scooter
N.J. Burkett has the latest in Queens on the shooting.

EAST ELMHURST, Queens (WABC) -- Two NYPD officers were shot while confronting a suspect on a moped while investigating a robbery pattern in East Elmhurst, Queens.

It happened at 1:40 a.m. Monday on 23rd Avenue in East Elmhurst. The officers were wounded after chasing down a robbery suspect on a moped. After he took off on foot, investigators say he turned and fired on them. They returned fire and struck him in the foot before he was arrested.

Officer Christopher Abreu, 26, was shot in the leg. He's a five-year veteran of the force.

Officer Richard Yarusso, 26, was hit by a bullet in his vest and grazed in the stomach. He has just two and a half years on the job.

Mayor Eric Adams held up the bulletproof vest during a press conference Monday morning, showing reporters where the bullet hit that officer.

Watch the full press conference with officials on the shooting:

Mayor Adams and Police Commissioner Caban, along with others, provide an update on the shooting.

"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 focus professionalism and today we thank God."

The officers were taken to Elmhurst Hospital and they were released to the applause of their fellow officers later Monday morning.

Two NYPD officers injured in a shootout with a suspect in East Elmhurst were released from the hospital on Monday.

"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 was also injured and shot in his lower leg. He was carried by police to the ambulance and taken to NY Presbyterian Hospital in Queens.

A gun was recovered at the scene.


The suspect has been identified as Bernardo Raul Castro Mato, a Venezuelan migrant who entered the U.S. through Eagle Pass, Texas, in July 2023. His last known address was a migrant shelter at a hotel in Queens.

Police say Mato is a suspect in several ongoing robbery patterns in Queens, where cellphones are snatched from victims' hands. In one incident, a woman was attacked, her credit card was stolen and later used in a smoke shop.

"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.

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