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Venezuelan Migrant Arraigned for Shooting NYPD Officers, Claims Gang Smuggling Guns into Shelters (Video)

Suspect and Charges

A Venezuelan migrant, Bernardo Raul Castro Mata, 19, has been arraigned on multiple charges, including two counts of attempted murder in the first degree. Mata is accused of shooting two NYPD officers after they attempted to pull him over for driving an unregistered scooter the wrong way on a one-way street in East Elmhurst, New York.

Incident Details

On June 3rd, when officers tried to stop Mata, he fled. Police chased him, and during the confrontation, Mata allegedly shot Officer Christopher Abreu in the leg and Officer Richard Giarrusso in the vest at point-blank range.

Gang Involvement and Confessions

Mata, who arrived in the U.S. illegally a year ago, confessed to authorities that he is a member of the Venezuelan gang Tren de Aragua. He claimed that this gang is smuggling firearms into city-run migrant shelters using food delivery packages to bypass metal detectors.

Additional Claims

Mata revealed that he was recruited by a cousin to join the gang for the purpose of committing robberies. He stated that shooting at police officers is a common practice among gang members in Venezuela, where criminals often shoot at police due to perceived chances of escaping justice.

Legal Proceedings

Mata appeared in court in a wheelchair and did not speak. His attorney requested protective custody due to his cooperation with authorities, and the judge granted this request. Mata pleaded not guilty, and DoorDash, the company Mata claimed to work for, reported having no record of his employment.

Protective Measures

Due to his cooperation and the potential threat from his gang, Mata’s attorney successfully requested that he be kept in protective custody.

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