Two NYPD Officers Shot – Suspect Is Illegal Immigrant Teen Who’s Been Living in Hotel on Taxpayers’ Dime: Report

Two New York City police officers were shot by a 19-year-old Venezuelan immigrant during a routine traffic stop early Monday morning.

The public safety officers, Officer Christopher Abreu and his partner Richard Yarusso, returned fire, hitting Bernardo Castro Mata in the ankle, the New York Post reported.

Abreu was shot in the leg, while Yarusso took a round to the front of his protective vest.

Both officers were treated at Elmhurst General Hospital and were reportedly in stable condition and “good spirits,” NYPD Commissioner Edward Caban said, according to the Post.

Mata entered the U.S. illegally at Eagle Pass, Texas, in July, NYPD Det. Joseph Kenny told WPIX-TV.


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His current address was a migrant shelter in East Elmhurst near LaGuardia Airport, which Caban said was a former Courtyard Marriott, the Post reported.

Mata was taken to NewYork-Presbyterian Queens for surgery, according to the outlet.

“This could have gone a very different way,” Caban said, referring to the bullet hole in Yarusso’s vest, the Post said.

“Because of this vest, a young police officer is going home,” Mayor Eric Adams said during a news conference early Monday. “A senseless act of violence. A total disregard for life.

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“Our officers responded with a level of discipline, a level of focus, and a level of professionalism,” Adams added. “Today we thank God.”

Mata, identified by WPIX as Bernardo Raul Castro-Mata, had been driving a scooter the wrong way on a one-way street when the two officers tried to pull him over.

Abandoning the scooter, Mata ran, then turned to fire at the officers with an illegal handgun that was recovered at the scene, the station reported.

While Mata has no prior arrest record in New York City, police believe that he is part of “crew using scooters to commit crimes.”

“We’re looking at him for several other robbery patterns in the Queens area where he does have other co-defendants,” Kenny said at the news conference, according to WPIX.


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“In one incident, Castro-Mata is suspected of attacking a woman and stealing her credit card, according to the NYPD,” the outlet reported. “The credit card was later used at a Queens smoke shop.”

One of the officers, presumably Yarusso, had been released from the hospital by 8:20 Monday morning, WPMI-TV reported.

Mata also was expected to recover from his gunshot wound, the station noted.

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George Upper is the former Editor-in-Chief of The Western Journal and was a weekly co-host of “WJ Live,” powered by The Western Journal. He is currently a contributing editor in the areas of faith, politics and culture. A former U.S. Army special operator, teacher and consultant, he is a lifetime member of the NRA and an active volunteer leader in his church. Born in Foxborough, Massachusetts, he has lived most of his life in central North Carolina.

George Upper, is the former editor-in-chief of The Western Journal and is now a contributing editor in the areas of faith, politics and culture. He currently serves as the connections pastor at Awestruck Church in Greensboro, North Carolina. He is a former U.S. Army special operator, teacher, manager and consultant. Born in Massachusetts, he graduated from Foxborough High School before joining the Army and spending most of the next three years at Fort Bragg. He holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in English as well as a Master’s in Business Administration, all from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. He and his wife life only a short drive from his three children, their spouses and his grandchildren. He is a lifetime member of the NRA and in his spare time he shoots, reads a lot of Lawrence Block and John D. MacDonald, and watches Bruce Campbell movies. He is a fan of individual freedom, Tommy Bahama, fine-point G-2 pens and the Oxford comma.


Foxborough, Massachusetts




Beta Gamma Sigma


B.A., English, UNCG; M.A., English, UNCG; MBA, UNCG


North Carolina

Languages Spoken


Topics of Expertise

Faith, Business, Leadership and Management, Military, Politics

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