NATIONAL NEWS

In mourning yet again, NYC prepares to honor fallen officer

Jan 23, 2022, 10:18 AM | Updated: 2:22 pm
NEW YORK, NEW YORK - JANUARY 22: Police gather at the scene in Harlem where two New York City polic...
NEW YORK, NEW YORK - JANUARY 22: Police gather at the scene in Harlem where two New York City police officers were shot last night after responding to a domestic call on January 22, 2022 in New York City. One of the officers, Jason Rivera, was killed while a second officer is in critical condition. The incident follows a series of high profile shootings in New York City over the past few weeks. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
(Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

NEW YORK (AP) — A city reeling from a recent spate of violence prepared to lay to rest a rookie police officer being hailed as an inspiration to his immigrant community, as investigators sought to make sense of a domestic dispute that left another officer “fighting for his life.”

Funeral services for New York City Police Officer Jason Rivera were being finalized, as his comrades in blue mourned the loss of the 22-year-old who joined the force to make a difference in what he had described as a “chaotic city.”

A solemn scene unfolded Sunday with a column of uniformed police officers, as well as a line of firefighters, flanking the streets as a hearse carrying the fallen officer left the medical examiner’s office.

Burial rites were scheduled for Friday, city officials said, while services were to be held Thursday at St. Patrick’s Cathedral.

Rivera and Officer Wilbert Mora were shot Friday night while answering a call about an argument between a woman and her adult son. Mora, 27, suffered a serious head wound, police said.

During a Sunday morning appearance on CNN, Mayor Eric Adams stressed the urgency “to deal with the underlying issues that are impacting crime in our city and has become a stain on the inner cities across our country.”

He said his police force would revamp 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 symbol of that soiled coat with red blood is really what we’re talking about here in not only New York City, but across America,” Adams said.

The medical examiner ruled Rivera’s death a homicide after an autopsy found he died from gunshot wounds to the head and torso.

Mora, who has been with the NYPD for four years, remained in life-threatening condition, Adams said Sunday. Police said he was to be transferred from Harlem Hospital to NYU Langone Medical Center.

“It just really has impacted our entire city, if not the entire country. And this is coming after having five officers shot, the 11-month baby shot in Brooklyn,” the mayor said.

The shooting is the latest in a string of crimes that have unnerved the nation’s most populous city and the country’s largest police force, with 36,000 officers.

In the three weeks since Adams took office, a 19-year-old cashier was shot to death as she worked a late-night shift at a Burger King, a woman was pushed to her death in a subway station, and a baby was critically injured when she was hit by a stray bullet as she sat in a parked car with her mother. With the Harlem shooting Friday night, four police officers had been shot in as many days.

The man police say shot them, Lashawn J. McNeil, 47, also was critically wounded and hospitalized, authorities said.

Details about what led to the deadly confrontation were still emerging.

Officials said a woman who made an emergency call Friday said she was ill and that her son who had come up to take care of her had become “problematic.” Adams said the woman did not specify the problem.

Authorities said three officers went to the apartment after the call came in. The officers spoke with the woman and another son, but there was no mention of a weapon, police said.

After Rivera and Mora walked from the front of the apartment down a narrow hallway to check on McNeil, he swung open a bedroom door and began shooting, police said. Both officers were gunned down before they could pull their weapons and defend themselves, police said.

As McNeil tried to flee, a third officer who had stayed with McNeil’s mother in the front of the apartment shot at McNeil and wounded him in the head and arm, NYPD Chief of Detectives James Essig said.

McNeil had a 2003 drug conviction in New York City. He also had several out-of-state arrests. In 1998, he was arrested in South Carolina on suspicion of unlawfully carrying a pistol, but records show the matter was later dismissed. In 2002, he was arrested in Pennsylvania on suspicion of assaulting a police officer, Essig said.

McNeil had been married but the couple separated nearly two decades ago, according to Theresa Noa, who is married to his ex-wife’s brother. She said McNeil had four children from that marriage.

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.

Adams and Gov. Kathy Hochul both said federal authorities need to do more to round up stolen guns like the one used in the Harlem shooting. Hochul, at an appearance in Buffalo on Saturday, called it a “scourge of illegal guns on our streets.”

Rivera joined the force in November 2020.

Growing up in Manhattan’s Inwood neighborhood, he noticed tensions with police, according to a brief essay titled “Why I Became a Police Officer,” a copy of which was obtained by The Associated Press.

In that essay, Rivera wrote about how he was bothered by witnessing his brother being stopped and frisked. But his attitudes changed when he also saw how the department was trying to improve relationships with communities.

“I realized how impactful my role as a police officer would go in this chaotic city,” he wrote.

___

Associated Press writer Michael R. Sisak contributed to this report.

KSL 5 TV Live

Top Stories

National News

FILE (Photo by Gustavo Caballero/Getty Images for UNITAS)...
Associated Press

Man charged with threatening Oklahoma US Rep. Eisenberger

A man known for showing up uninvited at political events to get close to politicians has been charged with cyberstalking and threatening an Oklahoma congressman and his family.
14 hours ago
FILE: This 2003 electron microscope image made available by the Centers for Disease Control and Pre...
MARIA CHENG AP Medical Writer

Expert says monkeypox likely spread by sex at raves in Europe

A leading World Health Organization adviser says the unprecedented outbreak of monkeypox in developed countries is "a random event" that might be explained by sexual behavior at two recent raves in Europe.
14 hours ago
FILE: (Photo by David McNew/Getty Images)...
KATHLEEN RONAYNE, Associated Press

Californians could see mandatory water cuts amid drought

California Gov. Gavin Newsom says he may impose mandatory water restrictions if people don't start using less as a drought drags on.
14 hours ago
FILE PHOTO...
Associated Press

Nearly 8,000-year-old skull found in Minnesota River

A partial skull that was discovered last summer by two kayakers in Minnesota will be returned to Native American officials after investigations determined it was about 8,000 years old.
14 hours ago
One person is dead and three others injured Monday after falling down a cliff in the Palos Verdes E...
Darleene Powells

1 killed, 3 hurt in 300-foot fall down cliff in Palos Verdes Estates

One person is dead and three others injured Monday after falling down a cliff in the Palos Verdes Estates area.
14 hours ago
An image from the encounter as recorded by the Lakeland McDonald's. (POLK COUNTY SHERIFF)...
Eliza Pace, KSL TV

Woman calls 911, throws ‘violent tantrum’ over McDonald’s order

Police arrested a woman after she "threw a violent tantrum" according to police, and enraged, walked behind the counter of a McDonald's, throwing items.
14 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

Earth day 2022...
1-800-GOT-JUNK?

How Are You Celebrating Earth Day 2022? | 4 Simple Ways to Celebrate Earth Day and Protect the Environment

Earth Day is a great time to reflect on how we can be more environmentally conscious. Here are some tips for celebrating Earth Day.
Get Money Online...

More Ways to Get Money Online Right Now in Your Spare Time

Here are 4 easy ways that you can get more money online if you have some free time and want to make a little extra on the side.
Lighting trends 2022...

Lighting Trends 2022 | 5 Beautiful Home Lighting Trends You Can Expect to See this Year and Beyond

This is where you can see the latest lighting trends for 2022 straight from the Lightovation Show at the Dallas World Trade Center.
What Can't You Throw Away in the Trash...

What Can’t You Throw Away in the Trash? | 5 Things You Shouldn’t Throw in to Your Trash Can

What can't you throw away in the trash? Believe it or not, there are actually many items that shouldn't be thrown straight into the trash.
Make Money Online Easily...

4 Ways that You Can Make Money Online Easily in Just a Few Clicks

Here are 4 ways that you can make money online easily in no time at all! Some are as simple as just a few clicks away.
tips to winterize your home...
Bonneville Digital SLC

Tips to Winterize Your Home | The Top 5 Ways You Can Prepare for the Cold Utah Winter Ahead

Before the snow hits, here are the top 5 tips to winterize your home to prepare for the cold Utah winter this year.
In mourning yet again, NYC prepares to honor fallen officer