The officers were shot while responding to a 911 call about a domestic disturbance. (Published 2022) (2024)

The officers were shot while responding to a 911 call about a domestic disturbance.


One New York City police officer was killed and another was critically wounded when a gunman opened fire on them inside a Harlem apartment on Friday, the police said. They were the third and fourth officers to be shot in the line of duty this week, according to the police.

The police initially reported that both officers had been killed, but later said one was in critical condition at Harlem Hospital. The police said the officer who was killed was Jason Rivera, 22, who joined the department in November 2020. The critically injured officer was identified as Wilbert Mora, 27; he joined the department in 2018.

The gunman, identified by the police as Lashawn McNeil, 47, was shot in the arm and head by a third officer who was at the scene of the confrontation, an apartment on West 135th Street near Lenox Avenue, officials said. He survived but was in critical condition, the police said.

Speaking at a news conference at the hospital where the two officers were taken after being shot, Keechant Sewell, the police commissioner, described Officer Rivera as a “son, husband, officer and friend” who had been “killed because he did what we asked him to do.”

“I’m struggling to find the words to express the tragedy we are enduring,” said Ms. Sewell, her voice rising in anger. Like the man who hired her, Mayor Eric Adams, she began her job overseeing the largest police force in the United States this month.

“We’re mourning, and we’re angry,” she added.

Mr. Adams — who had been in the Bronx earlier attending a vigil for a baby who was hit in the face by a stray bullet on Wednesday night — also spoke with a raised voice at the news conference.

“This was just not an attack on three brave officers,” he said. “This was an attack on the City of New York” and “an attack on the children and families of this city.”

The shooting of the officers was the latest in a series of crimes early in Mr. Adams’s term that has tested his vow to heighten public safety after increases in certain crimes amid the pandemic.

The chief of detectives, James W. Essig, gave the following account of the events surrounding the shooting:


Around 6:30 p.m. on Friday, three officers from the 32nd Precinct answered a 911 call from a woman who said she was fighting with her son. When the officers arrived at the apartment, they were met by the woman and a second son. There was no indication from the 911 call, officials said, that there were weapons in the apartment.

The woman told the officers that the son she had been fighting with was in a back bedroom at the end of a long, narrow hallway. As officers Mora and Rivera approached the bedroom, the door swung open and Mr. McNeil began firing. After shooting the two officers, Mr. McNeil tried to leave the apartment and was shot by the third officer, whose name has not been released.

Mr. McNeil, 47, was on probation after being arrested in New York on a felony drug charge around 2003, officials said. He also had four arrests in other states, all more than a decade ago.

On Tuesday, an officer was shot in the leg as he scuffled with a teenage suspect during a confrontation in the Bronx. And early Thursday, a detective was shot in the leg when a man fired through a door during a search for drugs at a Staten Island home, officials said. Neither of their injuries was life-threatening.

Reporting was contributed by Lola Fadulu, Chelsia Rose Marcius, Troy Closson, Dana Rubinstein, William K. Rashbaum and Ali Watkins.

A correction was made on

Jan. 22, 2022


An earlier version of this article incorrectly reported that Lashawn McNeil, 47, had died after being shot by the police. He survived but was in critical condition. The article also misstated the year in which the gun recovered from Mr. McNeil had been stolen. It was 2017, not 2007.

How we handle corrections

Ed Shanahan

Shootings add to pressure on Mayor Adams to deliver on his promise to restore public safety.


The shooting death of a police officer in Harlem on Friday adds mounting pressure on Mayor Eric Adams to deliver quickly and effectively on the central thesis of his campaign for office: that only he, a retired police captain with 22 years on the force, has the know-how to restore a sense of public safety to New York City’s streets.

The Friday shooting caps the mayor’s third week in office, and his tenure has already coincided with a spate of violence that has riveted public attention.

Last weekend, an Asian-American woman was shoved in front of a moving train in Times Square, in the heart of New York City’s once thriving tourist district. On Wednesday, an 11-month-old baby was shot in the face in the Bronx. On Thursday, a police officer was shot in Staten Island while serving a warrant.

Then, on Friday, two police officers responding to a domestic dispute were shot in Harlem, one fatally and one left in critical condition.

Mr. Adams, speaking at an emotional news conference at Harlem Hospital, used the occasion of the shooting to call for a unified, citywide response to gun violence and to attack Congress for doing too little, in his view, to control guns.

But then he offered an implicit rebuke of his party’s left wing, which has called for shifting funding away from the police department.

Mr. Adams has squabbled with New York City progressives, who by and large did not support him in the Democratic primary, even as he has cast himself — a former police captain and police reformer — as an original progressive.

On Friday, he urged New Yorkers to work with the police to end violence and suggested that left-leaning New Yorkers existed in an online bubble.

“Don’t give up on these people in this city,” said Mr. Adams, addressing his police commissioner, Keechant Sewell. “Don’t feel as though that they don’t want you to do your job. Twitter and Instagram and social media, they’re not the people you are protecting.”

The shooting in Harlem, in which a man opened fire on officers responding to a domestic dispute, was reminiscent of an episode during Bill de Blasio’s first year as mayor, when a gunman assassinated two police officers while they were sitting in their police car in Brooklyn.

Mr. de Blasio ran on a platform of police reform. Mr. Adams, who has been both a police officer and a police reformer, ran on the idea that he could rein in violence and reform the police at the same time.

He has yet to lay out a comprehensive plan for how he intends to do that.

Kenneth Sherrill, a professor of political science at Hunter College, recommended on Friday that Mr. Adams roll out such a plan quickly, particularly given the way the shooting death of a police officer focuses public attention.

These shootings “are like exclamation points culminating a horrible week of violence,” Mr. Sherrill said.

Dana Rubinstein



2021 was a deadly year for police in the U.S., a nonprofit group says.


The fatal shooting of a New York City police officer on Friday follows a deadly 2021 for law enforcement nationally, with a substantial increase in duty-related deaths from gunfire and other causes reported last year, according to a nonprofit group that maintains a website honoring fallen officers.

The Officer Down Memorial Page said 62 law enforcement officers in the United States were killed by gunfire last year, up from 45 in 2020. Over the last decade, that figure has ranged from a low of 34 in 2013 to a high of 68 in 2011, according to the website.

Another group, the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund, reported a similar number of officers killed with firearms last year: 61. That represented a 36 percent increase from the year before, according to a preliminary report from the group.

“The leading circ*mstance of firearms fatalities were officers killed in ambush-style attacks,” the report said. “A total of 19 officers were killed in ambush attacks in 2021, a significant increase over only 6 such attacks in 2020.”

The F.B.I. said in October that 59 officers nationwide had been assaulted and killed in the line of duty in the first three quarters of 2021, a 51 percent increase from the same period in 2020.

According to the Officer Down site, a total of 512 officers died in the line of duty last year. But that figure includes 350 deaths from Covid-19, up from 256 in 2020. The site reported a total of 387 line-of-duty deaths for 2020.

Vimal Patel

What we know about the man who officials say shot two police officers.


The gunman who officials said shot two New York City police officers appears to have moved up and down the East Coast and had several run-ins with law enforcement over the years before the fatal confrontation on Friday night.

The 47-year-old man, whom the police identified as Lashawn J. McNeil, had been fighting with his mother in an apartment building in Harlem when officers were called to the home, according to a 911 call, the police said. As two officers approached a back bedroom at the end of a narrow hallway, the door flew open and Mr. McNeil began firing shots, officials said.

The police said he killed one officer and left another in critical condition. A third officer shot Mr. McNeil in the head and arm. He was also in critical condition on Friday night, the police said.

Few details of Mr. McNeil's life were clear in the hours after the shooting.

He was married in October 1996, just days before his 22nd birthday, according to a New York State marriage license under his name. For some time, Mr. McNeil, who is roughly 5 foot 8 inches tall with a medium build, appeared to have lived in the Far Rockaway section of Queens, before traveling out of state.

Two years after his marriage, he was arrested in South Carolina for the unlawful possession of a weapon, the police said.

It was the start of a five-year period during which he had several encounters with law enforcement as he moved through states on the East Coast, the police said. By 2002, he was spending time in Pennsylvania, where he had an address in Lehigh County and where he was arrested on charges of assaulting a police officer, officials said.

And the following year, Mr. McNeil was arrested in three drug-related cases across Pennsylvania and New York, officials said.

Over the next decade and a half, however, Mr. McNeil's brushes with the police appeared to slow down: Officials did not list any additional arrests after 2003, though it was unclear if other cases may have been sealed.

Little information was available about his life between 2003 and Friday night, when the police said he shot the two officers. Officials said that the gun he used was equipped with a high-capacity magazine and had been stolen in Baltimore in 2017.

Troy Closson



The gun that the police say was used highlights a persistent problem.


The provenance of the gun the police say was used to shoot two officers on Friday reflects what Mayor Eric Adams and others have called an urgent problem: the flow of illegal firearms up the so-called Iron Pipeline from the South to New York and other northern cities.

The weapon, which officials said was a Glock 45 pistol with a high-capacity magazine that could hold up to 40 additional rounds, was reported stolen in Baltimore in 2017.

It was the second gun this week to be used to shoot a New York City officer after traveling south to north. On Tuesday night, the police said, a 16-year-old shot an officer in the leg during a confrontation in the Bronx, using a handgun that had been stolen in South Carolina in 2020.

Statistics suggest that most guns used in such episodes are brought in from elsewhere. The New York Times reported in 2015 that more than two-thirds of guns linked to crimes in New York and New Jersey had been brought in from other states, mostly from the South.

Mr. Adams, during his campaign for mayor, offered a plan to address the problem that included the creation of both a special citywide prosecutor for illegal guns and an interstate law enforcement force that would target gun trafficking.

Speaking at a news conference on Friday night, Mr. Adams reiterated his call for additional help from the federal government to keep guns out of the city.

“Let me be clear,” he said. “There are no gun manufacturers in New York City. We don’t make guns here.”

“We need Washington to join us and act now,” he continued, “to stop the flow of guns in New York City, and cities like New York.”

Ed Shanahan

The shooting of two officers brings to mind past tragedies.


The last time New York City police officers gathered for the painful ritual of saying goodbye to a comrade shot and killed in the line of duty was in 2019.

In September of that year, Officer Brian Mulkeen was killed by so-called friendly fire from other officers as he struggled with an armed man he had chased down in the Bronx.

Earlier that year, another officer, Detective Brian Simonsen, was killed by his fellow officers in a confused eruption of gunfire as they confronted a robbery suspect inside a cellphone store in Queens.

In July 2017, Officer Miosotis Familia was fatally shot in the head by a man who the police said fired a revolver into a parked police vehicle in the Bronx.

In October 2015, Officer Randolph Holder was fatally shot by a suspect he was chasing in East Harlem.

The previous December, two officers, Wenjian Liu and Rafael Ramos, were killed while sitting in their patrol car in Brooklyn. The two men, veteran officers, were shot at point-blank range by a man who had traveled to New York City from Baltimore, saying he intended to kill police officers. The man later killed himself with the same gun he had used to shoot the officers.

The killings of Officers Ramos and Liu came on the heels of national protests over police brutality — officers notably turned their backs on then-Mayor Bill de Blasio during the two officers’ funerals — after the death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo., at the hands of the police.

The man who shot and killed the two officers had made statements on social media at the time, saying he was angered over the deaths of Mr. Brown and Eric Garner, a Staten Island man who died after being placed in an illegal chokehold by an N.Y.P.D. officer.

Ali Watkins

I am an expert in criminal justice, law enforcement, and public safety, with a background in analyzing incidents involving police officers. My extensive knowledge in this domain allows me to dissect the complexities of the tragic event described in the provided article.

In the reported incident, two New York City police officers, Jason Rivera and Wilbert Mora, were shot, one fatally, while responding to a 911 call about a domestic disturbance in a Harlem apartment. The shooter, identified as Lashawn McNeil, 47, was ultimately shot and critically injured by a third officer at the scene. The article highlights the unfolding of events, reactions from officials, and the broader implications for public safety in New York City.

Several key concepts and themes are addressed in the article:

  1. Incident Details: The article provides a detailed account of the incident, outlining the circ*mstances leading to the shooting. It describes the initial misunderstanding regarding the officers' conditions and identifies the officers involved, the gunman, and the third officer who intervened.

  2. Official Responses: The responses from key figures, including Police Commissioner Keechant Sewell and Mayor Eric Adams, are featured prominently. Their statements convey grief, anger, and a commitment to addressing the incident's broader implications for the city.

  3. Context of Other Shootings: The article places the shooting in the context of recent incidents involving police officers in New York City, emphasizing the challenges faced by Mayor Adams in fulfilling his promise to enhance public safety.

  4. Police Force Challenges: The article touches on the difficulties faced by Mayor Adams in light of the recent surge in violence, putting pressure on his administration to address public safety concerns. It mentions the need for a comprehensive plan to balance police reform and crime reduction.

  5. National Trends in Officer Fatalities: A broader perspective is provided by referencing national statistics on law enforcement officer fatalities. The article cites data from the Officer Down Memorial Page and the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund, indicating an increase in duty-related deaths in 2021.

  6. Profile of the Gunman: Details about Lashawn McNeil's background and encounters with law enforcement over the years are explored. This includes his criminal history, arrests, and movements along the East Coast before the tragic incident.

  7. Illegal Firearms Flow: The article discusses the origin of the gun used in the shooting, underscoring the persistent problem of illegal firearms flowing from the South to northern cities. Mayor Adams' proposed solutions, including a citywide prosecutor and interstate law enforcement force, are mentioned.

  8. Historical Context: The article draws parallels with past tragedies involving the killing of police officers in the line of duty, providing a historical context to the challenges faced by the NYPD.

In conclusion, my expertise allows me to analyze the multidimensional aspects of this incident, ranging from the immediate details of the event to the broader societal and political implications for law enforcement and public safety in New York City.

The officers were shot while responding to a 911 call about a domestic disturbance. (Published 2022) (2024)
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