NYPD Officer Wilbert Mora Dies After Being Shot In Line Of Duty In Harlem: 'True Heroes Never Die'
NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- NYPD Officer Wilbert Mora died Tuesday after being shot in the line of duty last Friday in Harlem.
Mora was taken off life support, adding to the pain of an already heartbroken city and police department. The emotions are raw for his brothers and sisters in blue and it was reflected in a tweet from NYPD Commissioner Keechant Sewell, CBS2's Dave Carlin reported.
"It's with great sadness I announce the passing of Police Officer Wilbert Mora," Sewell wrote. "Wilbert is 3 times a hero. For choosing a life of service. For sacrificing his life to protect others. For giving life even in death through organ donation. Our heads are bowed & our hearts are heavy."
Gov. Kathy Hochul called Mora's death a "tragic loss."
"My thoughts are with NYPD Officer Wilbert Mora's family as they mourn this tragic loss. We will never forget Officer Mora's and Officer Rivera's heroism," she tweeted. "We stand with their families in grief. And we will continue to take meaningful action to make New Yorkers safer."
Mayor Eric Adams said Mora was a hero, adding, "Our hearts are heavy." He also ordered flags to be flown at half staff.
"He served his city, protected his community and gave his life for our safety," the mayor tweeted.
"True heroes never die," Police Benevolent Association President Pat Lynch said in a statement. "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."
The 27-year-old joined the department in 2018, the same year he graduated from CUNY John Jay College of Criminal Justice with a bachelor's degree. Working out of the 32nd Precinct, Mora had 35 arrests on his record and aspirations to become a sergeant.
A family friend told CBS2 his family is from the Dominican Republic and he was the youngest sibling.
WATCH: Chopper 2 Over Police Procession For Fallen Officer Mora
Mora and his partner, Officer Jason Rivera, responded to a 911 call from a woman who said she was having a dispute with her son around 6:30 p.m. Friday on West 135th Street between Lenox Avenue and Adam Clayton Powell Boulevard.
When they arrived, the woman said her son, 47-year-old Lashawn McNeil, was in a bedroom down a long, narrow hallway. As the officers approached, the door swung open and multiple shots were fired.
A third officer, Sumit Sulan, who was training under Mora, shot McNeil as he tried to flee the scene.
Rivera died Friday night at Harlem Hospital, and McNeil succumbed to his injuries Monday.
The deaths of Mora and Rivera are the city's first police line-of-duty fatalities this year, and the third and fourth officers to be shot in less than a week, following a fifth officer who was shot while off duty earlier in January, Carlin reported.
"Officer Mora and his partner, Officer Jason Rivera, showed courage in the face of imminent danger to protect New Yorkers. Their bravery exemplified their commitment to protecting the city they loved," New York State Attorney General Letitia James said in a statement Tuesday. "Both will forever be remembered as heroes who dedicated their lives to making New York safer and stronger."
Mora was initially rushed to Harlem Hospital, where he underwent two surgeries before being transferred to NYU Langone Medical Center. Once taken off life support, his organs were donated.
"At the time of his passing, Officer Mora's family knew that he became a police officer to protect and serve and save lives, and they wanted to make sure that while that was true in his life, it would also be true, unfortunately, in this trageic death that took this hero away from us," said Leonard Achan, president and CEO of the organ donation organization LiveOnNY.
We're told at least one person who could be a candidate to receive an organ donation is a relative of Mora's.
Police officers came to pay their respects at a makeshift memorial outside Mora's home on East 112th Street on Tuesday night.
"It's really heartbreaking. Really heartbreaking," neighbor Edgard Vega told CBS2's Dick Brennan.
Vega lives next door to the Mora family and says his mother would always love to talk about her son, the police officer.
"Every time you'd ask about the son, she'd be like, oh yeah, he's doing great, oh my god, but I'm so scared and whatnot, but other than that, I'm happy. You know, like some great things, big things. I'm like, that's good, that's good ... [She was] very proud," he said.
"For this heartbreak to happen off of a simple a domestic violence case, which, it was totally uncalled for and my condolences to the other, the younger officer as well, and it's young guys and it shouldn't happen," neighbor Peter Estrada said.
"It's sad. It's sad. My heart goes out to them. Oh my god, I can't stop crying. I've been crying ever since I heard about it," Harlem resident Connie Scott said.
Officers gathered and prayed for the families of their two fallen comrades at the 32nd Precinct.
"To lose a family member like that, it's just, it's crazy. And somebody so young and so dedicated to his job and stuff like that. It's heartbreaking, really," Harlem resident Norka Ruiz said.
Rivera's wake is scheduled for Thursday at St. Patrick's Cathedral, followed by his funeral Friday. Mora will be laid to rest in a separate service.
CBS2's Dave Carlin and Dick Brennan contributed to this report.
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