For the second time in five days, a New York City police officer killed while responding to a 911 call will be mourned at St. Patrick’s Cathedral.
The death of Officer Wilbert Mora, 27, was announced on Jan. 25, four days after he and his partner were shot while responding to a domestic disturbance in Harlem.
Officer Mora’s partner, Jason Rivera, died the night of the shooting and was laid to rest last Friday in a service that saw officers from around the country gather under snow flurries in a mass that stretched for blocks down Fifth Avenue. Officer Rivera, 22, was remembered as a passionate rookie who dreamed of making a meaningful change in relations between the police and communities they serve.
Officer Mora’s funeral on Wednesday will likely have a similar tone, and is scheduled to begin at 10 a.m. at the same landmark church where Officer Rivera’s service was held. A separate ceremony is scheduled after the service at a cemetery in Woodside, Queens.
The two police officers were killed in the first weeks of Mayor Eric Adams’s tenure, and he was expected to offer a eulogy of both solemn reflections on Officer Mora’s life and a broader pledge to end gun violence, as he did at last week’s service. Other local officials, including the police commissioner, were also set to attend the service.
Officer Mora joined the department in 2018 and was assigned to the 32nd Precinct in November 2019. He was part of a growing contingency of Dominican officers who, along with other younger Latino officers, have changed the face of a department that was once overwhelmingly white.
Like his partner, he showed a deep awareness of shortcomings in the policing in predominantly Black and Latino neighborhoods across the city — and a desire to create new approaches. He grew up during the height of stop and frisk in New York, and as a student, he studied the effects of those tactics, along with less confrontational strategies, on neighborhoods like East Harlem, where he lived.
Officers Mora and Rivera were part of a team of three who responded on Jan. 21 to a 911 call at a Harlem apartment: A mother had asked the police to speak with her adult son, Lashawn McNeil, 47, after he verbally threatened her while the two were arguing. She made no mention of weapons or violence in the apartment.
When the officers arrived, they were met at the door by the mother, who told them that her son was in a back bedroom, the police have said. She asked him to come out from the room, which was at the end of a long, cramped hallway. But he did not join them.
Officers Mora and Rivera made their way down the hall toward the door, one of them calling out for Mr. McNeil. But as the two officers neared the bedroom, the police said, Mr. McNeil opened fire with a pistol equipped with a high-capacity drum magazine, gravely wounding them both.
The shooting marked the first time in seven years that two city police officers have been killed together on the job.
The third officer, a trainee, had stayed back to speak with Mr. McNeil’s mother and a brother who was also there. After the gunfire erupted, that officer rushed the mother and brother into the kitchen, then shot Mr. McNeil twice, in the head and arm. He died from his injuries last week.