A 15-year-old illegal immigrant from Venezuela was arrested in New York City on Friday less than 24 hours after he allegedly opened fire on a security guard and police officers during a robbery attempt at a store in Times Square, hitting a 38-year-old female bystander in the leg.
Officers with the U.S. Marshals Joint Regional Fugitive Task Force and the NYPD nabbed Jesus Alejandro Rivas-Figueroa at the home of one of his relatives in Yonkers around 3:30 p.m. Friday, sources told The New York Post. NYPD spokesman Carlos Nieves told reporters that the teenager will likely be charged as a juvenile with attempted murder of a police officer.
“He was crying. When he was apprehended, he was crying… Here he is committing these adult acts, that’s something you don’t expect a child to do, and then when he’s apprehended, he’s brought out in handcuffs crying,” Nieves said.
Rivas-Figueroa, who is also a suspect in a gunpoint robbery in the Bronx last month, and two other teens were allegedly attempting to shoplift from sports-fashion store JD Sports in Times Square around 7 p.m. on Thursday but were stopped by a security guard, who took the stolen clothes back from them, NYPD Chief of Patrol John Chell said. Authorities alleged that Rivas-Figueroa then pulled out a “very large” .45-caliber handgun, firing at the female security guard and “into a crowd.”
The shot missed the security guard but struck Tatiele Riberio, a 38-year-old Brazilian tourist, in the leg while she was standing in line waiting to buy shoes. Riberio was transported to Bellevue Hospital and released after getting 13 stitches in her leg, according to the Post.
After Rivas-Figueroa — along with another 15-year-old boy and a 16-year-old boy — ran from the store, the illegal immigrant allegedly opened fire on an NYPD officer. Officers apprehended Rivas-Figueroa’s 15-year-old accomplice on Thursday night and nabbed the 16-year-old on Friday morning. Chell said detectives are still “trying to figure out” what the other teenagers’ role was in the alleged robbery attempt.
“[Rivas-Figueroa] had no problems firing into a crowd at a store … and not shooting at cops once, but shooting at them twice,” said Chell, adding, “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.”
— NYPD NEWS (@NYPDnews) February 9, 2024
Investigators interviewed witnesses and obtained surveillance footage, which led them to Rivas-Figueroa the next day. Chell said the teen arrived in the city in September and was placed in a temporary shelter at the Stratford Hotel. The hotel’s staff told the Post that they believe Rivas-Figueroa and his family left the shelter sometime Friday morning. The teenager was found with his mother on Saratoga Avenue.
NYPD Commissioner Edward Caban warned those who would “threaten the lives” of the city’s police officers.
“If you think you attack a member of this department, if you think you could threaten the lives of the very people who keep us safe. If you think you could put others at deadly risk and get away with it, then think again,” Caban said. “We will never stop pursuing you. We will find you, and we will arrest you.”
The attempted robbery and alleged shooting comes just two weeks after NYPD officers were pummeled by a group of illegal immigrants near Times Square. Video footage shared by the NYPD shows the officers attempting to arrest one of the illegal immigrants as others kick and punch the officers in the head.
Four illegal immigrants were eventually apprehended but then released without bail before reportedly fleeing across the country to California.
🚨WANTED for ASSAULT: on 1/27 at approx. 8:30 PM, individuals kicked & punched police officers in the head & body when officers were effecting an arrest in front of 220 W 42nd Street. The individuals fled on foot towards 7th Ave. Any info? DM or call @nypdtips at 800-577-TIPS. pic.twitter.com/UDusqdbGgf
— NYPD NEWS (@NYPDnews) January 30, 2024