A gunman killed 22-year-old Jason Rivera and wounded 27-year-old Wilbert Mora, police say
A New York City police officer was killed and another critically wounded Friday night while answering a call about an argument between a woman and her adult son, officials said, making four officers shot in the city in as many days.
Just three weeks into their jobs, Mayor Eric Adams — a former police captain himself — and Police Commissioner Keechant Sewell stood before the media at a Harlem hospital, denouncing the spate of violence against the New York Police Department.
“Countless officers lined this hallway after carrying him in and grieve for their brother while praying with everything they have for the other” officer, Sewell said. “I am struggling to find the words to express the tragedy we are enduring. We’re mourning, and we’re angry.”
New York City Mayor Eric Adams speaks during a press conference at Harlem Hospital after a shooting in Harlem on Friday, Jan. 21, 2022, in New York. (AP Photo/Yuki Iwamura)
Adams said, “This was just not an attack on these brave officers. This was an attack on the city of New York.”
Adams called for federal authorities to do more to round up stolen guns like the one used in Friday’s shooting inside a Harlem apartment.
“There are no gun manufacturers in New York City,” he said. “We don’t make guns here. How are we removing thousands of guns off the street and they still find their way into New York City, in the hands of people who are killers?”
Authorities said the officers, along with a third officer, went to the apartment on 135th Street after a call came in from a woman needing help with her son, identified by police as Lashawn J. McNeil, 47.
Authorities said the officers spoke with the woman and another son, but there was no mention of a weapon. Then two of them walked from the front of the apartment down a narrow, 30-foot hallway.
NYPD Chief of Detectives James Essig said McNeil swung open a bedroom door and opened fire at the officers, striking them.
The officer who was killed was identified as 22-year-old Jason Rivera, who joined the force in November 2020, and the wounded officer as Wilbert Mora, 27, who’s been with the NYPD for four years.
In an undated photo released by the NYPD, New York Police Department officer Jason Rivera who was killed in a police shooting, Friday, Jan. 21, 2022, in New York City, is seen. (AP photo)
As McNeil tried to flee, a third officer who’d stayed with McNeil’s mother in the front of the apartment shot at McNeil and wounded him in the head and arm, Essig said.
In an undated photo released by the NYPD, New York Police Department officer Wilbert Mora who was involved in a police shooting, Friday, Jan. 21, 2022, in New York City, is seen. (NYPD via AP Photo)
McNeil is alive and hospitalized in critical condition, NYPD spokesperson Lt. John Grimpel said, correcting earlier reports that he had been killed. Sewell and Adams did not take questions at the hospital press conference.
McNeil’s last known address is in Allentown, Pennsylvania, about 90 miles west of New York City.
McNeil was on probation for a 2003 drug conviction in New York City. He also had several out-of-state arrests. In 1998, he was arrested in South Carolina for unlawfully carrying a pistol, but records show the matter was later dismissed. In 2002, he was arrested in Pennsylvania for assaulting a police officer, Essig said.
Police said the gun used in Friday night’s shooting, a .45-caliber Glock with a high-capacity magazine capable of holding up to 40 extra rounds, had been stolen in Baltimore in 2017.
Friday night’s shooting happened in a street-level apartment in a six-story apartment building on a block between two iconic Harlem avenues: Malcolm X Boulevard and Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Boulevard.
It came three nights after an officer was wounded in the leg in the Bronx during a struggle with a teenager who also shot himself. On Thursday, a narcotics detective was shot in the leg on Staten Island.
Under Adams, the NYPD has reinstated a plainclothes anti-crime unit aimed at getting guns off the streets. The unit had been disbanded in 2020 over concerns it accounted for a disproportionate number of shootings and complaints.
The NYPD has also partnered with prosecutors, city and federal agencies in recent months on a task force that meets daily and works to track gun violence, accelerate gun tracing and build cases against shooters and gun traffickers.
NYPD officers are seen at the scene of shooting in Harlem on Friday, Jan. 21, 2022, in New York. (AP Photo/Yuki Iwamura)
Before Friday, the last NYPD officer killed in the line of duty was Anastasios Tsakos, who was struck by a suspected drunken driver in May 2021 while assisting officers at the scene of an earlier crash on a Queens highway.
The last NYPD officer fatally shot in the line of duty, Brian Mulkeen, was hit by friendly fire while struggling with an armed man after chasing and shooting at him in the Bronx in September 2019.
Mulkeen’s death came about seven months after Det. Brian Simonsen was killed by friendly fire while he and other officers were confronting a robbery suspect at a cell phone store in Queens.
In 2017, Officer Miosotis Familia was ambushed by a gunman as she wrote in a notebook in a mobile command post. In 2016, Sgt. Paul Tuozzolo was killed in a gunfight with a man who’d broken into his estranged wife’s home.
In 2015, Officer Randolph Holder was shot and killed by a man riding a stolen bicycle in Manhattan and Officer Brian Moore died after he was shot by a man in Queens.
The year before, Officers Wenjian Liu and Rafael Ramos were fatally shot by a man who ambushed them as they sat in their patrol car in Brooklyn.
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