A gun battle that left one New York City police officer clinging to life on Saturday and another dead began as an argument between the suspect in the shooting and his mother over food, according to the New York Daily News.
Police said Lashawn McNeil had moved to Harlem to take care of his mother, who had undergone surgery. Life in their apartment included battles over food between McNeil, who is vegan, and his mother, who is not, the Daily News reported.
At about 6:30 p.m. Friday, three officers — Jason Rivera, 22; Wilbert Mora, 27; and a third officer whose name has not been released — were dispatched to the apartment after a loud argument between the two.
“We’ve been having problems,” the mother told police.
McNeil, who had gone into a bedroom in the apartment, did not emerge after his mother called him, leading police to go in search of him.
McNeil emerged from the bedroom with a handgun equipped with a magazine capable of holding 40 rounds.
“He suddenly, without warning, opened fire on them,” New York Police Department Commissioner Keechant Sewell said, according to the New York Post.
Rivera was hit first and fell, the Daily News reported. He would later die of his wounds.
Tonight, we mourn the loss of a hero officer — a son, husband, and friend. Only 22 years old, Police Officer Jason Rivera was murdered in the line of duty. We vow to #NeverForget Jason as his fellow Finest vow to honor his tremendous legacy of service & the ultimate sacrifice. pic.twitter.com/5zsx45XiM4
— NYPD NEWS (@NYPDnews) January 22, 2022
McNeil stepped over Rivera to shoot Mora, who may have gotten off a shot before he was wounded. Mora was reported in critical condition on Saturday.
The third, a probationary officer, then shot McNeil, who was also listed in critical condition on Saturday.
“Why’d you do that?” police said the mother screamed at McNeil.
NYPD Chief of Detectives James Essig said McNeil, who was on probation, had a criminal record that included a gun charge in North Carolina, an assault on a police officer in Pennsylvania, and a felony narcotics charge in New York City.
Essig said the gun used in the crime had been reported stolen in Baltimore.
— New York Post (@nypost) January 22, 2022
According to the Post, Rivera joined the NYPD in 2020 and Mora joined in 2018.
Sewell called Rivera a “son, husband, officer and friend” who had been “killed because he did what we asked him to do,” according to The New York Times.
“I’m struggling to find the words to express the tragedy we are enduring,” she said. “We’re mourning, and we’re angry.”
Mayor Eric Adams said the shooting was not just an attack on three brave officers. “This was an attack on the City of New York” and “an attack on the children and families of this city,” he said.
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