Two New York City police officers were shot early Monday while chasing a suspect, who authorities say is an illegal immigrant from Venezuela, while investigating a pattern of robberies involving suspects on scooters.

The shooting happened just before 1:45 a.m. at the intersection of 89th Street and 23rd Avenue in the Elmhurst neighborhood of Queens.

The two officers, part of the 115th Precinct’s public safety unit, attempted to pull over a male suspect driving a scooter the wrong way when the suspect began to flee on foot. During the foot chase, the suspect shot at the two officers, who returned fire.

One officer was shot in the stomach area of his bullet-proof vest, while the other officer was shot in the leg. Both officers were rushed to hospitals in stable condition and are expected to recover.


officer wheeling officer out of hospital

Two New York City police officers who were shot by an illegal immigrant in Queens, New York, early Monday are greeted by fellow officers as they were released from a hospital later that morning. (FOX5 New York WNYW)

"Every day New Yorkers are not wearing this," New York City Mayor Eric Adams said during a press conference from Elmhurst Hospital while holding a wounded officer’s bulletproof vest and pointing to a bullet hole in the front. 

Mayor Eric Adams speaking at presser

New York City Mayor Eric Adams holds the wounded officer's bulletproof vest that saved the officer's life. (NYPD)

"This is what we’re fighting every day," Adams said, calling the shooting a "senseless act of violence" and a "total disregard for life."

The suspect being carried away by NYPD.

The suspect is being carried away after driving a motorized scooter the wrong way and shooting at officers during a foot chase in New York City early Monday. (Dakota Santiago/FreedomNewsTV)

The suspect was shot in his right ankle and also taken to a hospital. Police said the gun that the suspect used in the shooting was illegally possessed.

illegal gun used in shooting of two officers

Police said a gun used in the shooting was recovered from the scene. (NYPD)

The suspect was identified as Bernardo Raul Castro Mata, a 19-year-old man from Venezuela, who police said entered the country illegally through Eagle Pass, Texas, in July 2023. NYPD sources told Fox News that Castro Mata was released in Texas with a future court date, but instead left the area and traveled to New York City.

Castro Mata was living at a former Courtyard Marriott hotel in Queens that is now being used as a migrant shelter, according to police.

While Castro Mata has no prior arrests in New York City, police said he is a suspect in multiple robbery patterns in and around New York, with some of the more recent incidents happening in Queens.

The suspect is arrested, sitting on the floor and surrounded by NYPD.

The suspect is detained after shooting two law enforcement officers in New York City. (Dakota Santiago/FreedomNewsTV)

Castro Mata is accused of stealing purses, wallets and other belongings before speeding off on his moped. 

The two NYPD officers recognized Mata early Monday, according to the source, and tried to stop him on the scooter before the shooting unfolded.

Police said one injured officer has served the department for 5 years, while the other injured officer has over two years on the job.

The shooter on the ground.

The suspect ditched the scooter and led the officers on a foot chase in New York City. (Dakota Santiago/FreedomNewsTV)

Patrick Hendry, president of the Police Benevolent Association in New York City, said the two officers put "their lives on the line to keep New Yorkers safe."

"The one police officer, shot in the vest, was more concerned about his partner, saving his life, getting a tourniquet," Hendry said during the press conference. "That’s what partners do in the NYPD; they save each other’s lives."

Both officers were released from the hospital later Monday morning and received cheers from their fellow officers.

The gun used by the suspect on the floor.

The firearm used by the suspect is being collected as evidence by police after the suspect fired at two police officers in New York City. (Dakota Santiago/FreedomNewsTV)

Scooters and motorbikes are being used citywide to commit crimes including shootings, robberies and phone snatches, according to police. Authorities said these patterns have seen a dramatic spike over a three-year period.


From Jan. 1 to June 1, 2022, police said there were no robbery patterns involving scooters. During the same period in 2023, these patterns increased to 20. From Jan. 1 to June 1, 2024, police said there were over 80 of these incidents.

Fox News' Alexis McAdams contributed to this report.