NEW YORK — The NYPD officer who survived a shooting that killed his colleague in Harlem on Friday was “still fighting for his life” on Saturday, Mayor Eric Adams said.
Officer Jason Rivera, 22, was killed and Officer Wilbert Mora, 27, was critically hurt when Lashawn McNeil, 47, shot them as they were responding to a domestic incident Friday night, authorities said.
At a news briefing Saturday afternoon, Adams said he had met with Mora’s family at NYC Health + Hospitals/Harlem earlier in the day.
What You Need To Know
- The NYPD officer who survived a shooting that killed his colleague in Harlem on Friday was “still fighting for his life” on Saturday, Mayor Eric Adams said
- Officer Jason Rivera, 22, was killed and Officer Wilbert Mora, 27, was critically hurt when Lashawn McNeil, 47, shot them as they were responding to a domestic incident Friday night, authorities said
- Adams’ administration will lay out a “blueprint for safety” in the coming weeks that includes anti-gun violence initiatives, he said
- The mayor also called on the federal government to "step up" to address the issue of gun violence in cities like New York, Chicago and Detroit
“We need New Yorkers to pray for the well-being of this officer, that we should all be proud of,” he said. “The medical diagnosis, I think we should leave it up to the doctors, but he’s fighting for his life right now.”
“My heart goes out to Officer Jason Rivera and Wilbert Moya and their entire family on this horrific, horrific incident,” the mayor added.
Adams’ administration will lay out a “blueprint for safety” in the coming weeks that includes anti-gun violence initiatives, he said.
The mayor added that the federal government "must step up" to address the issue of gun violence in cities like New York, Chicago and Detroit.
“We know we’re doing the right job on the ground. We’re removing thousands of guns off the street, but there’s an endless flow that continues to come through our city borders,” he said.
"Just as there are a small number of shooters, there's a small number of shooters in the city, there are a small number of gun dealers that are providing these guns in different ways," he went on to say. “We need to close those loopholes, and we have not, and that’s the help we need from the federal government.”
Rep. Adriano Espaillat, who joined Adams at the briefing, noted that President Joe Biden’s Build Back Better bill includes $5 billion for violence intervention.
“Right now, Build Back Better is being hijacked by politics, by partisan politics,” Espaillat said. “So we need to go back and fight to have that money released and adopted into law, and coming to these neighborhoods as quickly as possible.”
Police officials said the shooting happened at around 6:15 p.m. Friday, after Rivera, Mora and another officer were called to an apartment at 119 W. 135th St. in Harlem for a domestic incident.
Two of the responding officers were headed for the back bedroom of the apartment when McNeil opened the door and fired several shots at both of them, the NYPD said.
The third officer at the scene was not shot, according to police. That officer shot McNeil in the head and arm when he tried to escape, police said.
As of Saturday, McNeil was alive and hospitalized in critical condition, the NYPD said. Police said he had five prior arrests, including a felony drug conviction in New York City in 2003, and an arrest for assaulting a police officer in Pennsylvania in 2002. McNeil was on probation for the 2003 conviction, according to police.
Asked about the 911 call that brought the officers to the Harlem building where they were shot on Friday night, Adams said McNeil's mother — who called police — “was not really specific.”
“She just stated that she was ill, her son was coming up to take care of her, and he became problematic,” Adams said. “She didn’t drill into specificity, but I’m sure the detectives have done a thorough investigation to determine what exactly led to it.”
Rivera joined the force in November 2020, and Mora has been with the NYPD for four years, the Associated Press reported.
Bunting was draped at the 32nd Precinct station house in Harlem — where Rivera worked — on Saturday to honor his life.
Adams and Schools Chancellor David Banks showed their support for the fallen officer by visiting the precinct ahead of Saturday afternoon's news briefing.
“We are here. We are mourning with you. We are here to lift you up,” Banks said.
Biden on Saturday said in a tweet that he and first lady Jill Biden were "saddened to hear two NYPD officers were shot last night — one fatally."
In a letter Rivera sent to the commanding officer of the Police Academy when he was still a probationary police officer in November 2020, Rivera said he “knew this was the career for me.”
“Growing up in Inwood, Manhattan, the community’s relationship between the police and the community was not great,” he wrote, sharing a story about his brother getting stopped and frisked by the police. “My perspective on police and the way they police really bothered me.”
“As time went on, I saw the NYPD pushing hard on changing the relationship between the police and the community. This was when I realized that I wanted to be a part of the men in blue; better the relationship between the community and the police,” he added.
“I would be the first person in my family to become a police officer,” he went on to say. “Coming from an immigrant family, I will be the first to say that I am a member of the NYPD, the greatest police force in the world.”
Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.