A 22-year-old rookie NYPD cop was killed in Harlem on Friday night, and his colleague was clinging to life, after they were shot without warning in what the mayor called “an attack on the city of New York.”
The man who shot them, identified by police as 47-year-old Lashawn McNeil, was then gunned down by a third officer and was in critical condition on Saturday. He used a Glock 45 that had been stolen in Baltimore in 2017, police said.
The three officers had responded to a domestic violence call Friday after a Harlem woman asked for help during a fight with her son, authorities said. While one officer remained with the woman and one of her sons, Officers Jason Rivera and Wilbert Mora made their way down a long, narrow hallway to the bedroom where McNeil was.
But, he suddenly opened the door and fired, striking them both, authorities said. The third officer ran into the hallway and fired two rounds, hitting McNeil in the arm and the head. Police did not know there was a weapon in the house before they entered.
Rivera, 22, a native of Manhattan’s Inwood neighborhood was killed. Conflicting reports from multiple news outlets Friday night said that Mora, 27, was also killed but an NYPD official who spoke to The Daily Beast said he was in “extremely critical condition” and undergoing surgery.
Rivera had been on the job for just over a year, according to the New York Post. He told the police academy in November 2020 that he wanted to transform the department from the inside, relating it to his family’s experience with its controversial “stop and frisk” policies.
“This was when I realized that I wanted to be a part of the men in blue: [to] better the relationship between the community and the police,” he wrote in a letter obtained by the Post.
The officers were “compassionately trying to provide aid” to the suspect when “he suddenly, without warning, opened fire on them,” NYPD commissioner Keechant Sewell said at a late-night press conference.
“I am struggling to find the words to express the tragedy we are enduring. We’re mourning, and we are angry,” she added, her voice laced with rage.
Mayor Eric Adams delivered a fiery speech from Harlem Hospital, where the injured officers were transported. After traveling to the scene fresh from attending a vigil for an 11-year-girl struck by a stray bullet, he railed against a recent string of shootings.
“It is our city against the killers,” he said. “This was just not an attack on three brave officers, this was an attack on the city of New York.”
According to ABC 7, four cops have been shot within the past 72 hours in the Big Apple. In all, six officers have reportedly been shot in 2022.
“It is time for us to save our city,” Adams said. “We need Washington to join us and act now and stop the flow of guns to New York City and cities like it.”
Sewell said the entire department was “praying with everything they have” that Mora will pull through.