MANHATTAN, N.Y. (PIX11) — The sister of fallen NYPD officer Wilbert Mora remembered her brother on Wednesday in an emotional eulogy filled with sorrow and frustration.
Thousands of NYPD officers, law enforcement officials, and political figures joined the Mora family at St. Patrick’s Cathedral for a funeral Mass led by Cardinal Timothy Dolan, who also presided over his partner Jason Rivera’s funeral last week. Mora’s brother, Wilson Mora, and older sister, Karina Mora, each remembered the slain officer with heart-felt and poignant eulogies.
“It hurts me to know that those two young exemplary officers, like officers Jason Rivera and Wilbert Mora, were taken from us so soon. Two young men who wanted to make a difference and change their city with their service and dedication,” Karina Mora said in her native Spanish.
Mora was the youngest child in a close-knit Dominican family that emigrated to New York City and settled in East Harlem. He was remembered by many loved ones as a gentle giant who showered everyone around him with love and laughter. But on Wednesday, the pain of the Mora family was palpable as Karina Mora demanded change in remembrance of her brother’s sacrifice to the city he swore to protect.
“Now I ask: how many Wilbert(s), how many Jason(s), how many more officers will have to lose their lives for this system to change? How many other lives who protect us will be taken away by violence and crime? How many mothers? How many more mothers, how many children will have to lose their family and live through this trauma and this kind of tragedy?” she said.
Karina Mora then called on lawmakers to do more to prevent future tragedies.
“The officers of the New York police protect us. But who protects them? Who watches out for their lives? That I don’t know. But what I do know, and so do you, who are the ones responsible to stop this kind of tragedy to continue. Lawmakers, the crime ended the lives of two exemplary young men who only gave the best of themselves to their city. The crime buried their dreams and in its hands, there are many other dreams that will also be buried. Do something. It is enough!” she said.
Mora and Rivera were gunned down inside a Harlem apartment on Jan. 21. The officers were responding to a domestic incident between a mother and her son, 47-year-old Lashawn McNeil.
When they walked down a narrow hallway, McNeil swung open a door and opened fire, striking both officers in the head, police said. Rivera was pronounced dead that night at a hospital. Mora was an organ donor and was kept on life support for four days so that his organs could be donated to save lives.
McNeil was shot by a third officer, Sumit Sulan, who had remained toward the front of the apartment with McNeil’s mother. He died three days after the shooting. Sulan was unharmed during the deadly encounter.
The tragic shooting renewed a push by city and state leaders to stem the flow of illegal guns into New York City. But Karina Mora was not the only grieving relative to call for more to be done. Last week, Rivera’s grief-stricken widow, Dominique Luzuriaga, called out Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg for his decision to not prosecute certain crimes in the borough.
“We are not safe anymore, not even members of the service,” she said. “I know you were tired of these laws, especially the ones from the new DA. I hope he’s watching you speak through me right now.”
PIX11’s Mary Murphy and Kristine Garcia contributed to this report.