NEW YORK — A second New York City police officer died Tuesday after a shooting in Harlem last week, Commissioner Keechant Sewell said.
Officer Wilbert Mora, 27, had been in critical condition in the hospital since the fatal shooting Friday evening, which also claimed the life of Officer Jason Rivera.
Rivera, Mora and another officer were responding to a domestic disturbance call Friday when Lashawn J. McNeil, who also died following the shooting, opened fire, police said.
Mora and Rivera’s deaths are the first police line of duty fatalities in New York City in 2022 and were the third and fourth officers to be shot in less than a week. A fifth officer was also shot earlier in January while off duty.
“Wilbert is 3 times a hero. For choosing a life of service. For sacrificing his life to protect others. For giving life even in death through organ donation. Our heads are bowed & our hearts are heavy,” Sewell said in a tweet Tuesday.
Mayor Eric Adams added: “He served his city, protected his community and gave his life for our safety. Our hearts are heavy. Our city is in mourning.”
The officer shootings, coupled with an uptick in other violent crime in the city in recent months, have left public safety officials searching for answers to curb the spread of guns. Adams, a former police captain, delivered a speech Monday outlining his vision for how to stem gun violence in New York.
“New Yorkers feel as if a sea of violence is engulfing our city. But as your mayor, I promise you, I will not let this happen. We will not surrender our city to the violent few, and we won’t go back to the bad old days,” Adams said in a speech at City Hall.
Adams announced an array of measures in his plan, including engaging all city agencies on gun violence, addressing mental health concerns, and bringing back an iteration of plainclothes, anti-crime units that were disbanded in 2020 to combat the spread of illegal guns on the streets.
NYPD Chief of Detectives James Essig said at a news conference Friday the gunman in the Harlem shooting used a Glock 45 pistol with a high-capacity magazine. The weapon had been stolen from Baltimore in 2017, Essig added.
Mora had been on the force for four years while Rivera joined NYPD in 2020. The officers were assigned to the 32nd Precinct in Harlem.
The shooting unfolded after 6:15 p.m. Friday when the officers answered a call about a mother who said she was disputing with her son. There were no reports of injuries or weapons at the time, Essig said. Mora and Rivera were in the hallway approaching the bedroom door when McNeil began shooting at them. A third officer, who had remained with the mother and another son in the apartment, fatally shot McNeil.
McNeil, 47, was initially hospitalized and died Monday, police said. After executing a search warrant, officers found a loaded AR-15 under his mattress.
Mora and Rivera were the first NYPD officers to be fatally shot in the line of duty since Brian Mulkeen was struck by what police said was “friendly fire” as he struggled with a man in the Bronx in September 2019. A pair of NYPD officers, Wenjian Liu and Rafael Ramos, also died in 2014 when they were ambushed as they sat in their patrol car in Brooklyn.
Rivera’s funeral is scheduled for Friday at St. Patrick’s Cathedral in Manhattan. Funeral plans for Mora were not immediately announced.