The Robert Kennedy Bridge is open today after a shooting happened on the New York landmark. Josue Viorato, 21, was picked up in Harlem for his connection in the incident that left 12 people, including a state trooper and seven police officers injured.
The RFK Bridge shooting happened Sunday at around 12:50 p.m. when state police officers were alerted to a stolen car driving over the bridge from the Queens entrance. According to reports, the owner of the grey 2021 Acura had reported the car stolen on Saturday and was tracking it with an app.
When he realized the car was going over the bridge, he followed the vehicle and called Triborough Bridge and Tunnel Authority. Officers tried to perform a traffic stop, but when the suspect refused to put down his window, Josue Viorato tried to back up and ended up hitting a state trooper.
The officer fired shots at the vehicle before the car was able to escape and hit numerous other cars. The bridge was shut down for hours while police investigated the shooting. Many people were stuck in heavy traffic or even had their vehicles stuck in the crime scene.
No one was hurt by the officer’s firearm.
One woman was behind the car when it happened and described the scene. She said, “There was a gray car, [the driver] wouldn’t roll down his windows. The police officer in a tow truck was knocking on the window and he wouldn’t roll down the window. When the windows were finally down, the cop grabbed him by the neck and the driver took off, did a zig-zag and hit all the other cars.”
The state trooper suffered minor injuries and was taken to Elmhurst Hospital. Seven other police officers and four other car owners were also taken to the hospital for treatment.
State police later picked up Josue Viorato in Harlem near 140th Street and Adam Clayton Powell Boulevard. His passenger, a 17-year-old, was also taken into custody.
Both the driver and passenger were charged Sunday for their involvement in the RFK Bridge shooting. Viorato was charged with unauthorized use of a motor vehicle, reckless endangerment, vehicular assault and unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle.
His passenger was charged with obstruction of governmental administration and unauthorized use of a motor vehicle, along with possession of an imitation firearm.
Josue Viroato is scheduled to appear in court on Jan. 19, 2022.
A video of the RFK shooting was posted on Tiktok. Hundreds of cars were stuck on the bridge during the incident and the bridge was closed for over 11 hours. Two lanes were reportedly closed in both directions as police officers investigated the scene.
According to police reports, Josue Viorato and his 17-year-old passenger both have a history in stealing cars. The unknown passenger was recently arrested for recklessly operating a stolen vehicle and Viroato was arrested on Nov. 8 for stealing a BMW.
According to city statistics, shootings in NYC have gone down this year while car thefts have gone up. This month, the NYPD reported that shootings and murders in the New York area saw a decrease this year. There were 129 shootings which was a 4.4% decrease from 2020 and only 37 murders, compared to the 41 that happened during the previous year. The data reflects the week to date.
Car thefts, on the other hand, have gone up this year. Back in July, it was reported that NYC was seeing a spike in stolen vehicles. By July 4, the city had seen a 25% spike and over 4,473 thefts were reported.
Some officers blamed the city’s new bail reform along with the Covid-19 pandemic for the spike in cases. According to police, car theft became more prevalent because residents weren’t moving their cars often.