Home » Sanctuary City Backlash: NYPD Officers Shot by Immigrant with Dismissed Case

Sanctuary City Backlash: NYPD Officers Shot by Immigrant with Dismissed Case

by Richard A Reagan

In a startling incident that has reignited debate over sanctuary city policies, Bernando Raul Castro-Mata, a Venezuelan national, has been accused of shooting two NYPD officers.

This event unfolded less than a month after an immigration judge dismissed his case, allowing him to remain in the U.S. despite previous encounters with immigration authorities.

In July 2023, Castro-Mata was apprehended by Border Patrol near Eagle Pass, Texas, after unlawfully entering the United States. Initially detained, he was subsequently released on his own recognizance and had his immigration case dismissed by a Department of Justice judge on May 6.

This decision has come under intense scrutiny following the recent violent episode.

The confrontation occurred early Monday morning in Queens when NYPD officers attempted to stop Castro-Mata, who was reportedly driving a moped in the wrong direction.

According to city officials, when confronted, Castro-Mata attempted to flee on foot and fired multiple rounds at pursuing officers. One officer was struck in his bullet-resistant vest, while the other suffered a leg injury. Both officers are currently reported to be in stable condition.

Following his arrest, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) confirmed that a detainer request has been lodged for Castro-Mata, who had been residing at the Landing Family Shelter—a facility used to house migrants. Police suspect he is involved in a broader network of criminals using motorized bikes for committing crimes across the city.

NYPD Chief of Detectives Joe Kenny highlighted the rising trend in crimes involving motorized scooters and motorcycles, noting a significant increase in such incidents from zero in the first half of 2022 to over 80 by mid-2024.

“Just to paint you a quick picture of how many of these crimes are being committed. January 1st to June 1st, 2022, zero robbery patterns involving motorized scooters or motorcycles,” said Kenny in a press conference.

“The same time period, 2023, 20 robbery patterns. Year to date so far this year, January 1st to June 1st, 2024, we have over 80 robbery patterns citywide involving incidents where the perpetrators are riding motorized scooters or motorcycles,” he added.

This incident has placed New York City’s sanctuary policies in the spotlight, particularly as the city grapples with a significant influx of asylum seekers.

Since April 2022, around 160,000 asylum seekers have arrived in New York City, straining local resources and compelling city leaders to enact budget cuts across various government programs.

In response to the growing crisis, Mayor Eric Adams has expressed growing dissatisfaction with these policies, stating that the city is reaching a “breaking point.”

Reports suggest that Mayor Adams is considering rolling back some of the sanctuary protections in collaboration with ICE to facilitate the apprehension of criminal elements among the migrant population more effectively.

Amidst this controversy, Rep. Nicole Malliotakis (R-NY), criticized Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), for her silence on the matter, especially as the shooting occurred in her district.

Using a phrase Ocasio-Cortez herself had used in a congressional hearing, Malliotakis called her out on social media, “Hey Baby Girl, two cops were shot in your district by an illegal immigrant who we NOW find out is a Venezuelan gang member being housed in a hotel at our constituents’ expense and you still have NOTHING to say about it?? Really?” 

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