HARLEM, Manhattan (PIX11) — He swore to serve and protect when he joined the NYPD, but his desire to help others started long before her put on the uniform.

Officer Jason Rivera, a 22-year-old newlywed, was always smiling and willing to lend a helping hand, people who knew him said. Before he became an officer, Rivera worked at a Washington Heights pharmacy where he’d often carry bags home for customers in need.

He was fatally shot on Friday night when he answered a call about an argument between a woman and her adult son. Another officer, Wilbert Mora, was critically injured.

Rivera graduated from Washington Heights Expeditionary Learning School in 2017. History teacher Devora Courney said Rivera was always happy and smiling.

“He just always wanted to do right by everyone,” Courtney said. “He always put his best foot forward and just had such a positive attitude.”

Courtney remembered Rivera’s clear sense of purpose. She said he wanted to be a role model.

“He wanted this so badly and he wanted to serve his community and to do right by everyone and to start a family and to do all these things,” Courtney said. “That opportunity was taken away from him.”