Migrant suspect accused in shooting of 2 NYPD officers arraigned from hospital bedside

ByEyewitness News WABC logo
Wednesday, June 5, 2024
Migrant suspect accused in shooting of 2 NYPD officers arrained
Phil Taitt reports the latest details from Queens.

EAST ELMHURST, Queens (WABC) -- The man charged with shooting two NYPD officers in Queens was arraigned Wednesday morning from his hospital bed.

Police revealed he's had past encounters with officers in other states.

Bernardo Raul Castro-Mata, 19, was arraigned at 10 a.m. and was remanded.

The Venezuelan migrant was charged with two counts of attempted murder, two counts of assault, criminal possession of a weapon, resisting arrest, and obstruction of governmental administration.

There was a strong show of support by the NYPD at the courthouse.

"This court needs to send a clear message. That if you attack a New York City police officer, you're going to stay behind bars. And that message needs to be sent because these two police officers who are injured right now are everything you would want a NYPD officer to be," said Patrick Hendry, NYC PBA President.

Eyewitness News' cameras were rolling as the migrant, who entered through Eagle Pass, Texas, just last year, was taken into an ambulance. He was shot in the ankle after bullets flew early Monday morning.

It happened as officers were addressing a robbery pattern in East Elmhurst.

That's when they tried to pull over the suspect on a scooter headed in the wrong direction.

This pursuit continued on foot when the suspect allegedly shot at Officer Christopher Abreu in the upper leg, and Officer Richard Yarusso, who was grazed on the stomach and hit in his bulletproof vest.

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

That's when officers returned gunfire.

ICE confirmed Mata had his immigration case dismissed by a federal judge last month, and Mayor Eric Adams says people who commit crimes should be held accountable.

"Those who commit serious crimes should not be allowed to stay in our city after they served their time and they went through the judicial process," Adams said. "Far too many people come here to pursue the American dream. We should be here to give access to that dream. They are a deterrent to the dream."

Tuesday, the NYPD's top brass appeared on Eyewitness News Mornings @ 10 who shared with us, that the video pulled from the officers' body cam was dramatic and showed it was a physical struggle between officers and Mata.

NYPD Chief of Patrol John Chell and Deputy Commissioner of Operations Kaz Daughtry joined the Eyewitness News Mornings @ 10 team to talk about recent crimes in New York City and what the NYPD is doing to combat them.

Following the proceedings, Queens County District Attorney Melinda Katz also spoke out.

"We need to hold those accountable that would attack our law enforcement. We charged attempted murder one in the first degree which is the highest charge that could be charged. Also a myriad of other charges gun possession assault 1, everything that goes with the idea of taking out a weapon when you are stopped in a traffic stop and trying to shoot police officers at point blank range," Katz said.

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.


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