By Brooke Mallory
5:56 PM – Friday, February 9, 2024
According to law enforcement, a 15-year-old illegal immigrant from Venezuela was taken into custody on Friday after he was caught on footage shooting a tourist and firing at a police officer during an attempted robbery in Times Square.
The teenager, Jesus Alejandro Rivas-Figueroa, was apprehended by the NYPD and the U.S. Marshals Joint Regional Fugitive Task Force at a Yonkers, New York, residence at around 3:30 p.m. EST, sources said.
On Thursday, the NYPD posted an image of the 15-year-old, along with a cash reward for anyone with additional information that could lead to his arrest.
Shortly after, NYPD Chief of Patrol John Chell named Rivas-Figueroa as the “armed and dangerous” person of interest in relation to Thursday night’s tumultuous event at Times Square.
Chell informed reporters that the adolescent had been living at the Stratford Hotel on West 70th Street since September, as the influx of incoming illegal immigrants has forced city officials to open up hotel rooms for them to stay in, paid for by taxpayers.
The police official stated that the 15-year-old is also a suspect in two other incidents involving gunfire in Midtown and an armed robbery that occurred in the Bronx on January 27th.
The teen had been holding “a large .45-caliber firearm,” Chell added.
He is accused of firing two rounds at police officers on Thursday night as he was leaving the area. According to reports, Rivas-Figueroa fired the weapon at around 7 p.m.
After striking a 38-year-old Brazilian tourist in the leg, the shooter fled with another teenager following the first shot. According to Chell, soon after, Rivas-Figueroa opened fire on a nearby police officer as he fled toward West 46th Street.
“He had no problems firing into a crowd at a store… and not shooting at cops once, but shooting at them twice,” Chell continued.
“And I gotta tell you, [if] one of those bullets hits our cop last night, this is a whole different conversation we’re having today. Our cops showed great restraint not to fire their weapons into a crowd of New Yorkers,” Chell said. “We’re not gonna put up with this.”
According to the police official, Rivas-Figueroa and two other illegal migrants, a 15-year-old and a 16-year-old, were seen stealing clothing from a number of stores in the area.
A female security guard eventually stopped the trio, and after speaking with the three, she reported that Rivas-Figueroa pulled out his firearm and shot in her direction, according to Chell. However, an unarmed customer was wounded by the gunshots, not the guard, and the victim is now reportedly healing after suffering a minor injury above her knee.
According to Chell, there was video evidence of Rivas-Figueroa and the other teenageer fleeing the store.
Officers on duty in the neighborhood eventually received the report and spotted them. They started running after the two boys. One grabbed the unnamed adolescent, and Rivas-Figueroa kept running toward Sixth Avenue, according to the police.
“He turns once, he fires towards our officer,” Chell told reporters.
“Our officer takes his gun out, and he cannot return fire; there are too many people in his way. Our suspect goes through the cut between the buildings. He’s running; he takes his gun out, and under his armpit, he fires again at our officer,” Chell continued.
Cops nabbed the 16-year-old on Friday morning, and he and the other 15-year-old were in custody as authorities worked to determine what role each of them played in the incident.
“We’re still trying to figure out [their] role in this,” Chell said. “We’re not going to go and broad brush a whole migrant community as being bad people… our concern, the community’s concern is to take this armed and dangerous juvenile off the streets,” Chell maintained.