Illegal Immigrant Justifies Shooting Police as Normal

( – The Venezuelan national accused of shooting two NYPD officers in early June was arraigned last Wednesday in Queens County Criminal Court after being indicted by a grand jury on multiple charges, including attempted murder.

According to a June 26 press release from the Queens County District Attorney’s Office, 19-year-old Bernardo Raul Castro Mata was indicted on 20 counts, including two counts of first- and second-degree attempted murder, for allegedly shooting NYPD Officers Christopher Abreu and Richard Yarusso when they attempted to pull him over on June 3 for driving a scooter the wrong way on a one-way street in East Elmhurst.

District Attorney Melinda Katz said the defendant shot one officer in the abdomen at point-blank range and the other in the leg.

Mata was also charged with first-degree attempted assault, second-degree criminal possession of a firearm, assault, resisting arrest, reckless driving, and other criminal counts related to the June 3 incident.

Court documents reveal that Mata, who was staying at a migrant shelter, told investigators that he belonged to the Venezuelan gang Tren de Aragua and that it was normal for members of the gang to shoot police officers because police in Venezuela frequently shoot gang members for the smallest infractions.

He alleged that the gang was smuggling guns into migrant shelters in food delivery packages to avoid metal detectors.

In his arraignment hearing, Mata pleaded not guilty to the charges, claiming that the gun accidentally fired during the traffic stop, and did not belong to him.

Prosecutors read into the record several statements Mata made during interviews with detectives, including his admission that he knew the gun was in the bag and that he ran when the officers stopped him because he was scared.

According to detectives, Mata had encountered police officers before and at the time of his arrest, had two stolen credit cards linking him to other crimes.

Following Mata’s arraignment, Police Benevolent Association President Patrick Hendry said that any migrant who would attack police officers should be “prosecuted, sentenced, and then deported.”

The Judge ordered Mata to return to court on September 16, the District Attorney’s Office said.

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