NEW YORK — The 22-year-old New York City police officer who was shot to death while responding to a call in a Harlem apartment came from an immigrant family and grew up in a community with strained police relations, but joined the force to make a difference in the “chaotic city,” he once wrote.
“I know that something as small as helping a tourist with directions, or helping a couple resolve an issue, will put a smile on someone’s face,” Jason Rivera wrote to his commanding officer in 2020 when he was a probationary police officer.
Rivera and Officer Wilbert Mora were shot Friday night while answering a call about an argument between a woman and her adult son. Mora, 27, was critically wounded and “fighting for his life” Saturday, Mayor Eric Adams said. Cardinal Timothy Dolan, the archbishop of New York, visited Mora and his family in the hospital and gave the wounded officer a blessing, according to a spokesman the archdiocese.
The man police say shot them — Lashawn J. McNeil, 47 — also was critically wounded and hospitalized, authorities said.
The shooting is the latest in a string of crimes that have unnerved the nation’s largest city.
In the three weeks since Adams took office, a 19-year-old cashier was shot to death as she worked a late-night shift at a Burger King, a woman was pushed to her death in a subway station, and a baby was critically injured when she was hit by a stray bullet as she sat in a parked car with her mother. With the Harlem shooting Friday night, four police officers had been shot in as many days.
And the city is recovering from its deadliest fire in three decades, a Bronx apartment blaze that killed 17 people.
“It’s only been three weeks, and it has been nonstop since then,” Adams told residents at a gun violence roundtable Saturday. “But I want you to know in a very clear way that I am more energized. I’m not tired. I’m not stressed out.”
Rivera joined the force in November 2020.