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Venezuelan migrant faces charges after shootout with NYPD in East Elmhurst

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A Venezuelan migrant is expected to be arraigned Wednesday morning for his alleged involvement in a shootout with police officers in East Elmhurst during the early hours of Monday, June 3.

The suspect, identified as 19-year-old Bernardo Raul Castro Mato, will face criminal charges from his hospital bed at New York-Presbyterian Hospital, where he is currently recovering from surgery after sustaining injuries during the gunfight.

According to an NYPD spokeswoman, charges are pending against Castro Mato, who was shot in the foot after allegedly firing at Officer Richard Yarusso, 26, and his partner, Officer Christopher Abreu, also 26, just before 2 a.m. on Monday. Officer Yarusso was hit in his bullet-proof vest, while Officer Abreu sustained a leg injury.

Castro Mato reportedly entered the U.S. illegally last July through the Rio Grande at Eagle Pass, Texas, a known hotspot for migrant crossings.

He later moved to Queens and resided at The Landing Family Shelter, located in the former Marriott Courtyard Motel on Ditmars Boulevard near LaGuardia Airport.

Police allege that Castro Mato engaged in criminal activities in Western Queens, targeting women across multiple police precincts with the aid of two accomplices and utilizing illegal scooters and mopeds for mobility.

The incident follows recent reports linking Castro Mato to scooter-riding robbers who targeted women in Western Queens. According to a report published on May 22, police from two Queens precincts were searching for suspects who had assaulted two women within a span of three hours. The suspects, who remain at large, were described as using scooters during the commission of their crimes.

The shootout has raised concerns about public safety and immigration policies, with law enforcement agencies emphasizing the need for enhanced security measures. The case has also drawn attention to the challenges posed by illegal immigration and criminal activities associated with migrant populations.

As Castro Mato awaits arraignment, authorities are expected to continue their investigation into the incident, while community members and local officials express their concerns over safety and law enforcement practices in Queens.

The situation underscores the complexities surrounding immigration, crime, and public safety in New York City, prompting discussions on policy reforms and community safety initiatives.

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