NEW YORK CITY — A 22-year-old New York City police officer died Friday after being shot while responding to a 911 call about a dispute between a mother and her son, officials said. A second officer remained hospitalized in critical condition following what officials characterized as an “ambush.”
Update 6:51 a.m. EST Jan. 22: The New York City Police Department identified the slain officer as Jason Rivera, 22, WABC-TV reported. The other officer, Wilbert Mora, 27, is in critical condition at a Harlem hospital, police told the television station.
Original report: Police did not immediately identify either the slain or the injured officer by name.
“Tonight, a 22-year-old husband, officer and friend was killed because he did what we asked him to do,” New York Police Commissioner Keechant Sewell said at a news conference late Friday. “I am struggling to find the words to express the tragedy that we are enduring. We’re mourning and we’re angry.”
Authorities said the shooting happened after three officers responded around 6:15 p.m. to a reported family dispute at an apartment in Harlem. Officials said no weapons were mentioned during the call.
The officers met a woman and her son and learned that the woman was arguing with another son, identified as 47-year-old Lashawn McNeil. Officials said McNeal was in a back bedroom, and two officers went down a narrow hallway to meet him.
“As our first officers approached the bedroom, the door swings open and numerous shots are fired, striking both officers,” NYPD Chief of Detectives James Essig said at a news conference. “As the perpetrator attempts to exit, he’s confronted by the third officer, who fires two rounds, striking (McNeil) in the right arm and head.”
McNeil underwent surgery after the shooting, although his condition was not immediately known, WCBS-TV reported.
Essig said McNeil fired at officers with a Glock 45 that had been stolen in Baltimore in 2017. It was equipped with a high-capacity magazine that held up to 40 more rounds, officials said. Authorities were working to further trace the firearm’s whereabouts.
“(We’re) working through why this brutal, senseless … ambush of two of our police officers occurred,” Essig said, urging anyone with information to contact police.
Mayor Eric Adams called Friday’s shooting “an attack on the City of New York” and called for federal action to address gun violence.
“We need Washington to join us and act now to stop the flow of guns in New York City and cities like New York,” Adams said. “We’re all witnesses. We have witnessed these murders and we have witnessed the failure on the federal level to stop the flow of guns to this city.”
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