HARLEM, Manhattan (PIX11) — The NYPD officer who was killed in a Harlem apartment shooting on Friday died from gunshots to the head and torso, according to the city medical examiner.
Officer Jason Rivera, 22, and officer Wilbert Mora, 27, were ambushed by a gunman who was hiding in a back bedroom of his mother’s apartment on 135th Street Friday evening, police said. The pair, along with a third unidentified officer, had responded to a 911 call from the mother who asked for help with her adult son, identified by police as 47-year-old Lashawn McNeil.
After speaking with the mother and another son at the front of the apartment, Mora and Rivera went down a narrow hallway to find McNeil. That’s when McNeil suddenly opened a bedroom door and opened fire on the officers, striking them both, police said.
Mora was also shot in the head, according to two high-ranking law enforcement sources. Both Mora and Rivera were rushed to Harlem Hospital, located on the same block as the apartment. Rivera was pronounced dead and sources told PIX11 News Mora was rushed into surgery to alleviate swelling to his brain. He remained in critical condition late Saturday night, according to police. The city medical examiner ruled Rivera’s death a homicide on Saturday.
McNeil tried to flee the apartment but was shot several times by the third officer who had remained toward the front of the apartment with his mother, authorities said. He was also hospitalized, according to police. As of Sunday morning, the NYPD had not released charges against McNeil, who has several prior convictions and was on probation for a drug offense.
Community and faith leaders as well as dozens of others gathered Saturday night at the NYPD’s 32nd Precinct in Harlem for a prayer vigil honoring the two officers. Purple bunting hung above the building’s doors in tribute.
Mayor Eric Adams on Saturday visited the third officer who responded to the call with Mora and Rivera. The mayor said the officer’s mother hugged him and told him that she’s restless every time that her son reports for duty.
“Violence won’t divide us … It will unite us. We are going to unite against this issue,” Adams said to cheers at the vigil.
This story comprises reporting from PIX11’s Sarah Vasile and Michelle Ross.