This story was reported by Matthew Chayes, Vera Chinese, Anthony M. DeStefano, Michael O'Keeffe and Dandan Zou. It was written by O'Keeffe and Chayes.
An NYPD officer shot in a Harlem apartment remained hospitalized with critical injuries late Sunday, while cops and FDNY personnel lined streets in Manhattan in a solemn ceremonial transfer to pay tribute to his fellow officer who was killed during the Friday night ambush.
Officer Wilbert Mora, 27, critically wounded after responding to a mother-son dispute, was transported from Harlem Hospital to NYU Langone Medical Center, officials said. Mayor Eric Adams has previously said that Mora was "fighting for his life."
The body of fellow Officer Jason Rivera, 22, who was shot and killed during the ambush, was transported in a black hearse from the medical examiner's office to a funeral home on Sunday following the ceremonial transfer in Manhattan.
The hearse carrying Rivera's body — escorted by motorcycles and other police vehicles — drove past two lines of saluting NYPD officers and FDNY firefighters on East 30th Street.
The hearse then headed north on First Avenue before arriving at Riverdale Funeral Home in the upper Manhattan neighborhood of Inwood. Lines of uniformed cops greeted the hearse when it got to the funeral home.
Rivera was shot inside an apartment unit by a man whose mother had called 911 seeking help dealing with him, according to the NYPD. The gunman also shot Mora, 27, police said.
Autopsy findings confirmed that Rivera died from gunshot wounds to the head and torso, the New York City medical examiner's office said Sunday. The suspect fired a shot at the officers while they were lying on the ground, according to a high-ranking NYPD official who viewed body-camera footage of the shooting and asked not to be identified.
That account was supported by a former police official briefed on the shooting.
Burial rites were scheduled for Friday, city officials said, with services Thursday at St. Patrick's Cathedral.
What to know
- Officer Wilbert Mora critically wounded after responding to a mother-son dispute in Harlem, was transported from Harlem Hospital to NYU Langone Medical Center, officials said.
- The body of fellow Officer Jason Rivera, who was shot and killed during the ambush in Harlem, was transported in a black hearse from the medical examiner's office to a funeral home on Sunday following a ceremonial transfer in Manhattan.
- Burial rites were scheduled for Friday, city officials said, with services Thursday at St. Patrick's Cathedral.
Keith Hall, a 15-year NYPD cop who works in Harlem's 32nd Precinct with Mora and Rivera, called Rivera "a perfect cop."
"He gave his life for the job. … He didn't know he was going to walk into [a situation] like that, but he was willing to help that person that needed help," Hall said in an interview Sunday at Levittown Lanes, the bowling alley where he and other officers gathered to raise money for autism charities.
Hall and the NYPD bowling team started a campaign on Fund the First, a crowdfunding platform for first responders, military personnel and medical workers, for the families of Rivera and Mora. As of Sunday evening, it had raised nearly $236,000 from thousands of donors.
"It shows that it's not just the brothers in blue coming together," Hall said.
Det. Kendo Kinsey, also with the 32nd Precinct, said Mora is deeply dedicated to the job.
"We always joked around like who's better and what you achieved so far," said Kinsey, a 17-year veteran. "And me being senior, he was always trying to basically outdo everybody that has more time than him. So it was more competitive. But it makes everybody a better person."
In television interviews Sunday, Mayor Eric Adams said he wants the federal government to exert a bigger role to help rid New York City of illegal guns, such as the one used to shoot Rivera and Mora.
On CNN, the mayor likened the city's gun violence crisis to the threat of terrorism and urged a similar coordinated effort to slow it.
"We are able to stop terrorism in this city when state, federal and local law enforcement agencies shared information," Adams told host Dana Bash.
Adams urged the federal government to play a larger role in stopping the flood of illegal guns.
"This is a sea of crime that has been fed by many rivers," he said. "We have to dam those rivers."
On ABCs "Good Morning America," Adams said he will be rolling out a plan this week to take on the gun violence.
Friday night's police shooting was the latest to occur in the city since Adams, a former NYPD captain who campaigned on a law-and-order platform, took office on New Year's Day.
Hours after Adams was sworn in, a stray bullet struck an officer napping between shifts in a precinct parking lot. Earlier last week, one officer was shot in the Bronx and another on Staten Island. All three officers survived.
The man police said fired on the officers in the Friday night ambush, Lashawn McNeil, 47, was shot and critically wounded by a third cop who had responded to the original call, on West 135th Street near Malcolm X Boulevard.
The shooting happened as the officers walked down a narrow hall toward a bedroom, from which McNeil opened fire, NYPD Commissioner Keechant Sewell said Friday night.
Adams said police initially went to the home after being summoned by the mother, who did not mention any weapons when calling 911.
"The mother 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. She didn’t drill into the specificity of being problematic, on the 911 tapes," he said.
The NYPD said that both officers lived in Manhattan.
Rivera joined the department on Nov. 2, 2020, and was assigned to the 32nd Precinct in May 2021. Mora joined on Oct. 24, 2018, and was assigned to the precinct in November 2019.
Jared Fox, a science teacher at the Washington Heights Expeditionary Learning School, where Rivera graduated from high school in 2017, remembered the officer as a well-liked student who wanted to help others.
"It's really hard when a kid that does everything right has their life end so tragically, doing something that they love, trying to make the world a better place, to give back to their community," Fox said.
"As an educator, this is really crushing," Fox added. "Every day, we show up to work and what we ask our students is for them to try their best. To go for their dreams and try to make the world a better place. And Jason was a kid who did that."
Chief of Detectives James Essig said Friday night that police recovered a handgun at the scene with a high-capacity illegal magazine that had been stolen in 2017 from Baltimore.
A police official who spoke on condition of anonymity said the gun had been reported stolen by a woman, but it was unclear how it got to McNeil.
The spent shell casings from Friday night are to be analyzed through a special federal program called "brass catcher" to determine whether the gun was used at any other crime scene, said the official. The shooting was captured on body-worn cameras, and the videos will likely be disclosed to the public at some point.
Essig said McNeil has one prior conviction in the city, in 2003 for narcotics, for which he was sentenced to probation. There also were four out-of-state arrests, including in 1998 in South Carolina for unlawful possession of a weapon, and in 2002 for assaulting a police officer. The dispositions of those cases were not immediately available.