Investigators are still trying to learn how Friday evening’s call for police assistance for a domestic dispute resulted in the deaths of three men, including two cops—Jason Rivera, 22 and Wilbert Mora, 27.
The incident rocked a city already dealing with escalating violence in the last couple years.
NYPD officers arrived at an apartment on Harlem’s 135th Street, between Malcolm X and Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Blvds. at about 6:30 p.m. Friday after Shirley Sourzes called 911 about 15 minutes earlier and calmly told the dispatcher her son, Lashawn McNeil, 47, was being verbally abusive to her, but she wasn’t in any imminent danger and didn’t mention any weapons. She explained that McNeil wasn’t physically abusive, and that she recently had heart surgery and he moved in with her in November from Baltimore to assist her.
Police stated that when their officers arrived they spoke with her briefly in the living room. She then called for Lashawn to come from out of the bedroom to speak with the officers, and when he didn’t respond, Rivera and Mora walked down the narrow hallway to his bedroom, when suddenly, “The door swings open and numerous shots are fired, striking both officers—one fatally and one is here at
Harlem Hospital in critical condition,” Chief of Detectives James Essig said at the time.
Rookie Officer Sumit Sulan, who was not injured, shot McNeil in the head and right arm as he attempted to flee the apartment. McNeil and the two wounded cops were taken to Harlem Hospital where
Rivera succumbed to his injuries later that evening, and McNeil died there Monday at 1:30 p.m. Mora had been shot in the head, and was transferred Sunday night to NYU Langone Medical Center, where he died Tuesday afternoon.
On Saturday, NYC Mayor Eric Adams ordered city flags be flown at half-staff, and told reporters, “This is a battle between the killers and New Yorkers, and we are not going to lose that battle.”
A candlelit vigil in front of the NYPD’s 32nd Precinct on 135th St memorialized the fallen officers.
After gathering information from Mrs. Sourzes and neighbors, investigators are checking the officers’ bodycam footage and McNeil’s social media accounts for evidence. The entire deadly episode was captured by the officers’ bodycams.
Police said the .45 Glock McNeil used had been reported stolen in Baltimore Nov. 20, 2017, and was equipped with a high-capacity drum magazine capable of holding 40 rounds.
On Monday, Mayor Adams revealed that a “loaded assault rifle” had also been found under McNeil’s mattress. The American Tactical AR-15 assault-style rifle contained one bullet in its chamber and 19 in the magazine.
Mora was an organ donor, and reports state that he helped save the lives of five people.
Rivera and Mora are the fourth and fifth New York Police Department cops shot so far this month, and the first fatalities.
Police revealed McNeil had been arrested five times on various charges, including assault on an officer and weapon possession. They say he has a history of posting anti-police and anti-government messages on social media.
Rivera and Mora’s memorial services were conducted at St. Patrick’s Cathedral with cops deep for 20 blocks in midtown Manhattan.