A guard of honor formed around the hearse transporting murdered NYPD officer Wilbert Mora on Wednesday, as the 27-year-old was taken to a funeral home in preparation for the final farewell.
Mora was shot on Friday in Harlem alongside his colleague Jason Rivera, 22, who died on the scene.
Medics battled to save Mora but he was pronounced dead on Tuesday by staff at NYU Langone.
Their killer, Lashawn McNeil, 47 – whose mother had called the officers to her home reporting that he was threatening her – was shot in the head by a third officer after shooting Mora and Rivera, and died on Monday.
Mora’s body on Wednesday left the city Medical Examiner’s office at Bellevue Hospital, with saluting officers lining the route.
Officers and first responders lined up outside the coroner’s office on 30th Street as Mora’s body was placed into an ambulance, with police helicopters flying overhead.
He was taken uptown to the Riverdale Funeral Home in Inwood, accompanied by helicopters, boats, and observed by hundreds in NYPD, FDNY and state police uniforms on the sidelines.
On Wednesday night there will be a candlelight vigil.
Next week, on February 3, President Joe Biden will travel to New York to meet city officials and discuss violence.
Wilbert Mora’s remains are driven in an ambulance through Manhattan on Wednesday from the medical examiner’s office to the funeral home in Inwood
Jason Rivera (left), 22, who joined the NYPD a little over a year ago, was shot and killed on Friday night and his partner Wilbert Mora, 27, who signed up in 2018, died on Tuesday after fighting to recover in hospital
Officers saluted as Mora’s ambulance passed on its way to the funeral parlor
Members of the NYPD line the route in Manhattan as Mora’s ambulance passes
The ambulance was driven through empty streets north towards the funeral home, at the northern tip of Manhattan
The rank and file members of the NYPD stand and remember their colleague as the ambulance travels through Washington Heights on Wednesday
Mora’s relatives climbed into a van outside their East Harlem home to travel to the Inwood funeral parlor.
They were met by Mayor Eric Adams, a former captain in the NYPD, and Police Commissioner Keechant Sewell.
The two city officials spent about 10 minutes speaking with family members, with relatives of Rivera arriving later in the afternoon at the funeral home where his remains were also taken.
‘Very nice guy. He had a heart of gold,’ said Dr. Omid Nikrouz, Mora’s longtime primary care physician.
‘He was like a friend, not a patient, a friend or a small brother to me, and everyone loved him.’
Nikrouz told NBC he sat with Mora in the hospital, and Mora’s mother was with him when life support was removed.
‘It’s sad. Such a big guy, a hero, someone who cares about everyone, to be in that situation,’ Nikrouz said.
Rivera’s wake will be on Thursday and his funeral on Friday at St Patrick’s Cathedral in the center of Manhattan.
Mora’s wake is to be on Tuesday and his wake Wednesday, at the same venue.
JetBlue is offering free flights to other law enforcement officers and other public officials nationwide who are planning to attend the funerals.
The two are the first officers to be shot and killed in the city since July 2017.
‘The whole world should be hurting right now,’ one officer told The New York Post. ‘We are hurting, bleeding inside for our colleague.’
Mora’s casket, draped with a flag, was taken out of the medical examiner’s officer on Wednesday and transported to the funeral parlor in Inwood. The ambulance is seen arriving at Inwood
Police are seen standing outside the funeral parlor in Inwood
A state trooper stands guard along the route taken by Mora’s ambulance on Wednesday
Officers comforted each other as Mora’s remains were taken to the funeral parlor in readiness for his service
Mora and Rivera are the first to be shot and killed among NYPD’s ranks since July 2017
Mora and Rivera’s friends and co-workers comforted each other on Wednesday outside the funeral home
NYPD Commissioner Keechant Sewell announced on Tuesday the death of NYPD officer Wilbert Mora
LASHAWN J. MCNEIL’S CRIMINAL RAP SHEET
Lashawn McNeil, 47, was well known to NYPD officers, who were called to his family’s New York City house on a domestic violence claim in August
The felon has had five arrests in three different states between 1998 and 2003
1998: McNeil was arrested for unlawful possession of a weapon in South Carolina
Records show that the matter was dismissed
2002: He was arrested for assaulting a police officer in Allentown, Pennsylvania, where he had a registered address
2003: He was also arrested twice on a felony drug charge and a misdemeanor narcotics charge in Pennsylvania
That same year, he was arrested and convicted of a felony narcotics charge in New York City, which he was still serving probation for
McNeil, who was shot by a third officer, Sumit Sulan, has since succumbed to his injuries and died on Monday
Mora has been praised by Sewell as a ‘triple hero’ because he signed up to serve others, sacrificed himself, and then donated his organs to help others.
His life support machine was switched off after doctors removed his kidneys, heart, pancreas and liver for life-saving transplants, with five recipients identified and the organs delivered later in the day.
Three of the patients were New York State residents, officials said, and the Mora family made the decision to donate the organs, said Leonard Achan, president and CEO of LiveOnNY – the organization that oversees and facilitates organ donation in New York.
‘Officer Mora’s final gift was the gift of life to others in need,’ said Achan.
‘He was transferred from Harlem Hospital to NYU Langone Health, where we have honored the family’s wishes for him to be an organ donor hero, so that he may ‘Live On’ while saving the lives of others.’
Adams has said that he believes ‘everyone needs to see’ the distressing body cam footage of the shooting, which has been described as a ‘complete execution.’
‘When we talk about the dangers involved in policing, it tore me apart to see what happened to those officers and what has happened to far too many officers,’ said the mayor on Tuesday.
On Monday, he vowed to end the scourge of gun violence plaguing his city by reviving a disbanded police unit, injecting cash into community projects, and vowing to dismantle weapons trafficking networks.
‘We are going to do a lot more than pray. We are going to turn our pain into purpose,’ he said in a City Hall press conference.
‘We will not surrender our city to the violent few.’
In a tribute tweet following Mora’s death on Tuesday, Adams wrote: ‘Wilbert Mora was a hero.
‘He served his city, protected his community and gave his life for our safety.
‘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.’
New York Attorney General Letitia James also sent out a statement regarding Mora’s death.
‘He was a hero until the end. Officer Mora and his partner, Officer Jason Rivera, showed courage in the face of imminent danger to protect New Yorkers,’ James said.
‘Their bravery exemplified their commitment to protecting the city they loved.
‘Both will forever be remembered as heroes who dedicated their lives to making New York safer and stronger. I pray for strength and ease for their families and loved ones.’
Supporters of the two fallen police officers pay tribute on Wednesday
NYPD Police Benevolent Association President Pat Lynch said in a statement: ‘True heroes never die.
‘Our brother Police Officer Wilbert Mora has left us, but he will live on in the heart of every New York City police officer from this day forward.
‘We are called upon to put ourselves between evil and the good people of this city. Police Officer 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. We ask you once again to join us. Help us mourn our fallen heroes, and help us carry on in their name.’
There have been 73 shootings so far this year in the city – an increase of 23.7 percent on last year.
A total of 82 people have been shot, up from 67 in the first three weeks of 2021.
On Monday, the mother of the gunman who carried out the attack on the officers, Shirley Sourzes spoke to the New York Post hours before her son’s death, saying: ‘I am deeply sorry.’
Sourzes made the call to cops to report her son’s domestic abuse on the night the killing took place and said she did not know her son was armed at the time.
She now says: ‘If I knew, I never would have made the phone call. I would never have called.’
Police recovered an illegal Glock 45 at the scene, equipped with a ‘high capacity magazine.’ The drum magazine gives a gun 40 additional rounds, allowing the user to fire a total of 50 rounds
NYPD detectives found a loaded AR-15 tucked under the mattress of Lashawn McNeil, 47, who allegedly shot and killed one officer and injured another in Harlem
Police officers, clergy and community members held a candlelight vigil at the NYPD 32nd precinct on Monday night
Dominican Officers Organization president NYPD Sergeant Dennis Rodriguez spoke at a vigil in front of the NYPD 32nd precinct in honor of the officers gunned down in Friday’s shooting
A makeshift memorial is seen outside the apartment of New York City Police Department Officer Wilbert Mora
‘I would like to say to Mr and Mrs (Rivera) that I am deeply sorry. I know that there is not words that I can express. Your pain. Your sorrow.
‘Me and my family are not proud of my son taking of life. There is nothing I can say to heal your sorrow, but God is a comforter.
‘And I know that he sent your son to do his will. I don’t understand it. It’s not fair. My heart goes out to you and your family.’
The career criminal was shot in the head and right arm by Officer Sumit Sulan moments after McNeil ambushed two officers, who were responding to a domestic dispute call from McNeil’s mother at her Harlem apartment.
Sources told the New York Daily News that McNeil argued with his mother, Sourzes, about his veganism.
NYPD senior officials told NBC that McNeil had moved in with his Sourzes at her Harlem apartment in November 2021 and had tried to convert his family to share his beliefs.
McNeil was well known to officers, who were last called to the house on a domestic violence call in August.
He had previously been arrested in New York in 2003 on felony narcotic charges, and was out on probation. He also had four other arrests in two different states.
In 1998, he was arrested in South Carolina for the unlawful possession of a weapon.
In Pennsylvania, where his registered address was, in Allentown, he was arrested in 2002 for assaulting a police officer.
He was also arrested twice in Pennsylvania in 2003 – once on a felony narcotics charge, and once on a misdemeanor narcotics charge.
When the three officers arrived at the McNeil house, the mother was in a front room with another son. She said that her threatening son was in the back room, and so Rivera and Mora approached the room along a narrow 30-foot hallway.
The third officer remained with the mother, Sourzes, and her other son.
When Rivera and Mora got close, McNeil opened fire, shooting both officers.
McNeil was wielding an illegal Glock 45 equipped with a high capacity 40 round magazine, which allows the pistol to fire 50 rounds. Police retrieved the weapon from the scene, which they said had been stolen in Baltimore in 2017.
McNeil made a dash for the door, but was shot by the third officer in the right arm and head.
On Sunday, hundreds of NYPD officers, paramedics and emergency responders gathered in Manhattan to salute Officer Rivera’s casket as it passed by.
His widow, Dominique Luzuriaga, shared several touching tributes to him on Instagram.
On Monday, shared a heartfelt letter he had sent her.
‘Dear Dominique, I don’t know where to start. You are my best friend in the whole entire school. I really love you but you never believe me when I say I love you,’ the letter read.
‘Every night, I always say to myself, how will life be without you…I want you to know that I will always trust you/love you…I want to be married to you…I don’t know if I have told you this but I am in love with [you].’
Another letter which appeared to be addressed to Rivera from his widow read: ‘I hope you do good in school and you better not drop out cuz I’ll kick your cake. Lmao Good luck baby! I love you just a little.’
Luzuriaga also shared pictures of her and her husband on their prom night and after their wedding, adding that she wished she had taken more pictures with him.
Rivera and Luzuriaga were married on October 9, 2021 and had some pictures taken in New Jersey. The widow mourned the loss of her husband on Instagram
She also shared the heartfelt letters she and her late husband wrote to each other when they were in high school
Another letter which appeared to be addressed to Rivera from his widow read: ‘I hope you do good in school and you better not drop out cuz I’ll kick your cake. Lmao Good luck baby! I love you just a little’
Twenty-two-year-old Officer Jason Rivera was shot and killed and Officer Wilbert Mora critically injured while responding to a domestic call
Members of clergy, community activists and police officers held rally and prayers at 32nd precinct for officers shot in Harlem
A copy of Jason Rivera’s letter to the New York Police Academy about why he became an officer
‘Why I became an officer’: Jason Rivera’s letter to NYPD Police Academy in 2020
In a 2020 letter to the NYPD police academy, Jason River wrote:
‘When I applied to become a police officer, I knew this was the career for me. I would be the first person in my family to become a police officer. Coming from an immigrant family, I will be the first to say that I am a member of the NYPD – the greatest police force in the world. Growing up in New York City, I realized how impactful my role as a police officer would go in this chaotic city of about 10 million people. I know that something as small as helping a tourist with directions, or helping a couple resolve an issue, would put a smile on someone’s face.
‘Growing up in Inwood, Manhattan, the community’s relationship between the police and the community was not great. I remember one day when I witnessed my brother being stopped and frisked. I asked myself, why are we being pulled over if we are in a taxi?I was too young to know that during that time, the NYPD was pulling over and frisking people at a high rate. My perspective on police and the way they police really bothered me. As time went on, I saw the NYPD pushing hard on changing the relationship between the police and the community. This was when I realized that I wanted to be a part of the men in blue; better the relationship between the community and the police.’
Many have made their way to the homes of Rivera and Mora to pay tribute to the fallen officers.
Following Rivera’s death last week, letters to the police academy about his aspirations were shared online, which revealed the 22-year-old had hopes of helping the police connect with his local community.
In his 2020 letter to the police academy, Rivera wrote: ‘Coming from an immigrant family, I will be the first to say that I am a member of the NYPD – the greatest police force in the world.’
‘Growing up in Inwood, Manhattan, the community’s relationship between the police and community was not great,’ Rivera wrote in a letter to the police academy after he became a cop in November 2020.
‘I remember my brother being stopped and frisked… I was too young to know that during that time, the NYPD was pulling over and frisking people at a high rate.
‘Growing up in New York City, I knew how impactful my role as a police officer would go in this chaotic city of about 10 million people.
‘I know that something as small as helping a tourist with directions, or helping a couple resolve an issue, would put a smile on someone’s face.’
Rivera said he was bothered by how he viewed the police and how they viewed him and his community, and he saw the NYPD trying to reform, and he wanted to be part of the change.
‘My perspective on police and the way they police really bothered me.’
‘This is when I realized that I wanted to be part of the men in blue; better the relationship between the community and the police.’
On Monday, Harsha Sulan said her brother Officer Sumit Sulan, 27 – who has been branded a ‘hero rookie’ after taking down McNeil – was ‘trying his best.’
‘It’s a lot to take and it’s overwhelming for him,’ she said.
‘He’s coping. He’s trying to cope, I don’t want to say anything for him. He will say something when he’s ready,’ she told the gathered press from the steps of her Queens family home.
Officer Sulan was seen entering the family home earlier that day, wearing a face mask and hoodie.
When asked if the family felt proud of Sulan, his sister answered without hesitation: ‘A hundred percent. We were proud of him. He was doing a good job.’
Since the events, Officer Sulan cannot get what happened out of his head, his mother told the New York Post Sunday.
‘His brain is stuck on the situation,’ Dalvir Sulan, 60, said of her son, who emigrated from the family’s home in India about 15 years ago.
‘I’m proud. Everyone say he did good,’ Sulan’s mother said.
‘I feel bad for the other [officer]. He died. We really feel bad. We’re sorry. We’re hurt.’
Sulan has only been on the job since April and at Harlem’s 32nd Precinct for two months, a law enforcement source told the Post.
He had been assigned just to observe Rivera and Mora in action.
‘He did a great job. We’re proud of him, but we’re sorry for both of [the other officers],’ she said.
Officer Sumit Sulan, the NYPD ‘super rookie’ who shot the man accused of killing 22-year-old Jason Rivera, was seen at his home in Queens on Monday
Harsha Sulan became emotional as she discussed her heroic brother on the steps of her family home