HARLEM, NY – Democratic New York Mayor Eric Adams called for the citizens of New York to unite and rally after the last week saw numerous officers shot in the line of duty, one of them killed.
It seems that at least some of his citizens heeded the request and gathered in the area to pray for everyone involved.
100s out tonight in Harlem for prayer vigil with families of NYPD Officers Rivera and Mora.
Powerful spirit of unity here. Clergy, local activists, elected officials, police officers saying together: we need to do more to keep each other safe. pic.twitter.com/JzyofxUs9y
— Mark D. Levine (@MarkLevineNYC) January 23, 2022
On January 21st, New York Police Officers Jason Rivera and Wilbur Mora were shot in the line of duty while investigating a domestic disturbance.
Officer Rivera died from his wounds while Officer Mora is still heroically fighting for his life in the hospital.
Shortly after the shooting occurred, Mayor Adams, himself a retired NYPD Captain, called for the citizens in New York to unite and stand up against the violence that the city has seen in the last week alone.
Seemingly, at least some of those that heard his call stepped up and gathered near the apartment where Officer Rivera answered his final call.
CBS reported dozens of people gathered on 135th Street to pray for the families that have been tragically affected in the wake of this shooting. While this group was in the area, another group gathered around the 32nd precinct house which is where the officers are stationed.
I attended a Zoom Prayer Vigil for slain Officer Rivera & the entire NYPD. There is too much violence in our City. My heart goes out to my local Precinct that has always been respectful & helpful in my area. Shout out to the 88 Bklyn! @NYPDPC @NYPDnews pic.twitter.com/PmEBmYjuc7
— Renee Collymore for City Council (@ReneeCollymore) January 23, 2022
Those in attendance prayed for the family and friends of the fallen officer, that somehow, they would be able to attain peace. They also prayed for Officer Mora and his friends and family, praying that God will pull him through and he will survive.
Mayor Adams joined the crowd on 135th Street and wanted to make sure that everyone understood what police officers do every day as they prayed. He said:
“They [officers] are putting their lives on the line for a city and a country that they love.”
The mayor also wanted the crowd to know that the city is in a battle for its soul after the spate of violence it has seen throughout the last year. He said:
“This is a fight. Violence against New Yorkers – that’s the battle we’re in right now. We’re in a battle with a small number of people that believe they will hold our city hostage with violence. That will not happen.”
Bishop Eric Figueroa of the New Life Tabernacle Church then led those in attendance in prayer. He said:
“Father, we thank you for that officer fighting for his life. We pray dear God you will dispatch angels around his bedside to do duty to preserve his life.”
A prayer vigil was held in Harlem where 2 NYPD officers were shot. 1 officer is dead, another officer is fighting for his life
Community members called for an end on gun violence and more mental health resources. pic.twitter.com/9MZxRdCG23
— Lissette Nuñez (@LissetteNunezTV) January 23, 2022
Area leaders that were in attendance stepped up to say that the city needs to do more to end the violence.
The leaders noted that the only people that can stop all the blood shed are those that are in the city who step up and say it is no longer acceptable anymore.
Ingrid Lewis-Martin, the Chief Advisor for Mayor Adams, said:
“We as a city have to do better. When we know that our children have guns, it’s our obligation to let police know. When we know that our neighbors have guns, it’s our obligation to let police know.”
While Lewis-Martin did not clarify, it is assumed that she is speaking about those who illegally have guns, most of which are stolen in the city. The comment appears to be geared towards criminals and not those that legally own firearms.
Mayor Adams has made it a point to publicly voice his support for law enforcement, both before and after he assumed the role of mayor. And this time was not different when he said:
“I have the backs of my police officers. And I want to be clear on that.”
On January 22nd, NYPD Officers Jason Rivera, Wilbert Mora, and an unidentified third officer responded to an apartment on 135th Street after a woman called them for assistance with her 47 year old son,
Lashawn McNeil. When officers arrived on scene, the unnamed officer stayed with the woman and spoke to her about the incident as Officers Rivera and Mora went down a narrow hallway to the apartment where McNeil was located.
New York Police Department Chief of Detectives, James Essig, reported that as the officers neared a bedroom, McNeil swung the door open and opened fire. Both officers were struck in the hail of gunfire while the third officer ran to assist.
As the third officer got close, they were able to stop him before he escaped. At some point while attempting to stop McNeil’s escape, the officer opened fire, striking him twice, once in the head and the other in the arm.
Officer Rivera died from the injuries he sustained while Officer Mora was transported to a nearby hospital where he is listed in critical condition. McNeil was also transported to a hospital where he is also listed in critical condition.
Democratic New York Mayor Eric Adams, a retired NYPD Captain, and newly appointed NYPD Commissioner Keechant Sewell, were at the hospital where the critically wounded officer is being treated. Commissioner Sewell said:
“Countless officers lined this hallway after carrying him in and grieve for their brother while praying with everything they have for the other. I am struggling to find the words to express the tragedy we are enduring. We’re mourning, and we’re angry.”
Mayor Adams weighed in on the tragic event on Twitter:
“I lost my fellow officers in the line of duty. I remember my mother’s fear for her sons when we went to work every day.
“Tonight, we lost a 22-year-old son, husband and police officer. Another is fighting for his life.
“Our hearts go out to their families.”
The mayor then went on to note the violence that the city has seen in just one week into the brand-new year. He wrote:
“@NYPDC Sewell and I have had to make too many of these visits to the hospital. We made one on my first day in office.
“This week alone, four of our officers have been shot. An 11 month old baby was shot.
“This isn’t just an attack on the NYPD. It’s an attack on New York City.”
Mayor Adams went on to note that there are no gun manufacturers in the city of New York, yet “thousands of guns” are finding their ways onto their streets. He added:
“We are all witnesses. To gun violence. To these murders. To the failures of leaders who have allowed these killers to get ahold of guns.
“We won’t allow violence to divide our city. It will unite us – being united is the only way we can save our city.”
Essig reported that McNeil was on probation at the time of the shooting for a 2003 drug conviction that occurred New York City.
Additionally, he had a lengthy criminal history out of several states, including a weapons charge in South Carolina and assaulting a police officer in Pennsylvania.
Essig reported the gun that McNeil used to kill one officer and wound another was a .45 Glock with a high-capacity magazine that was able to hold up to 40 rounds. The gun had been reported stolen out of Baltimore back in 2017.
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