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January 25, 2022

Second officer shot in Harlem domestic incident dies of injuries: Sewell

By Robert Pozarycki

Despite the best efforts of doctors and nurses who came to his aid, Police Officer Wilbert Mora — who was shot last Friday along with his partner while responding to a Harlem domestic incident — died of his injuries Tuesday.

Police Commissioner Keechant Sewell made the announcement in a post on her official Twitter account. Mora succumbed to his injuries at NYU Langone Hospital in Kips Bay, less than two days after being transferred there from Harlem Hospital.

Mora and Police Officer Jason Rivera, both members of the 32nd Precinct, were fatally shot by Lashawn McNeil, 47, as they responded to the dispute at the suspect’s apartment on West 135th Street on the night of Jan. 21.

All three men are now dead; Rivera died on Friday night at Harlem Hospital, while McNeil, who was shot by Police Officer Sumit Sulan, another 32nd Precinct officer who responded to the incident, succumbed to his injuries Monday. 

“Wilbert is 3 times a hero,” Sewell said. “For choosing a life of service. For sacrificing his life to protect others. For giving life even in death through organ donation. Our heads are bowed and our hearts are heavy.”

Mayor Eric Adams repeated many of the same sentiments.

“Wilbert Mora was a hero. He served his city, protected his community and gave his life for our safety,” he tweeted. “Our hearts are heavy. Our city is in mourning. To his family, loved ones, and brothers and sisters in the NYPD: Your city is standing with you today and always.”

Police Benevolent Association President Patrick Lynch said Mora “showed us what it means to carry out our mission with courage, skill and humanity.” 

“His sacrifice will guide us as we continue that mission, but we cannot succeed alone,” Lynch said in a statement posted on Twitter. “We ask you once again to join us. Help us mourn our fallen heroes, and help us carry on in their name.” 

The last time the NYPD lost two officers in a single gun violence incident was December 2014, when Police Officers Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu were gunned down while on patrol in Brooklyn. 

Much like the murder of Ramos and Liu, the slaying of Mora and Rivera shocked and angered a city plagued by increasing gun violence in recent months. Mora died a day after Mayor Adams announced a gun violence action plan seeking to combat the flow of illegal weapons into New York City and locking up the most violent offenders.

Rivera, Mora and Sulan responded to a reported family dispute inside a first-floor, one-bedroom apartment at 119 West 135th St. at about 6:15 p.m. on Jan. 21.

Upon arriving, law enforcement sources said, the officers met up with the caller, McNeil’s mother, who said she had gotten into an argument, along with her other son. 

After the woman informed the officers that McNeil was located in a bedroom in the rear of the premises, Officers Rivera and Mora walked down a hallway to approach the room, while Sulan remained in the living room.

That’s when McNeil came charging out of the bedroom with a .45-caliber handgun, equipped with an illegal high caliber cartridge containing up to 40 rounds, and blasted his weapon, striking Rivera and Mora multiple times. Sulan then fired at McNeil in response, gravely wounding him.

St. Patrick’s Cathedral in Midtown will hold Rivera’s wake on Friday afternoon and funeral Mass Saturday morning. Arrangements for Mora have yet to be announced.