NYPD officers shot, injured by Venezuelan illegal immigrant during traffic stop in Queens

The shooter had recently crossed the US border via Eagle Pass in Texas, a hotspot for illegal immigrant passage.


NYPD attempted to pull over a man driving the wrong way down 89th Street in Queens on a motorized scooter only to have the man open fire on them. The man, identified by police as a 19-year-old Venezuelan national shot at two NYPD officers early on Monday. The man recently crossed the US border via Eagle Pass in Texas. 

Two NYPD officers tried to pull over teen immigrant Bernardo Castro Mata after he was seen driving the wrong way on 89th in the Elmhurst neighborhood at around 1:40 am, per the New York Post. After a pursuit, he shot at the officers, striking one in the leg and hitting the other in the chest. The officer was wearing a bullet proof vest and suffered onlt a graze wound. One of the officers returned fire and hit Mata in the ankle. He was taken to New York-Presbyterian in Queens to undergo medical treatment.   

According to law enforcement source that spoke to the outlet, Mata was staying at an immigration shelter at the former Courtyard Marriott Hotel near LaGuardia Airport and had crossed into the US through Eagle Pass, Texas, last year. Eagle Pass has been popular ground route for illegal immigrants crossing into the US. Illegal immigrants often cross the border, are apprehended by border control agents, and are then released into the US pending a court date.

The two cops who had been shot were in "good spirits" after the incident and in stable condition once they were treated at Elmhurst General Hospital. The Venezuelan illegal immigrant did not have history of convictions, however, he was under investigation for several "snatch and grab" robberies in Queens, with one of them including a woman was allegedly attacked and then had credit cards stolen from her, authorities told the Post.   

“This could have gone a very different way,” NYPD Commissioner Edward Caban said in an early morning conference. Mayor Eric Adams also praised the officers at the conference, holding up the vest with the bullet hole that had been struck. 

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