NEW YORK (AP) — Thousands of New York City police officers mourned one of their own once again at a wake Wednesday for Officer Wilbert Mora, who was one of the two officers killed in an ambush at a Harlem apartment.
Mora, 27, and fellow Officer Jason Rivera, 22, were shot while responding to a domestic disturbance call at a Harlem apartment, where a woman called for help with her 47-year-old son.
Rivera, who died the night of the shooting, had a funeral Friday at St. Patrick’s Cathedral.
A viewing for Mora was held Tuesday afternoon and evening at St. Patrick’s, the same location as his funeral. Mora’s procession will follow the same path as Rivera’s, going up 5th Avenue, flanked by thousands of officers and crowds of mourners giving the officer a final salute.
While officers were responding to the call, Lashawn J. McNeil threw open a door in the apartment and shot the officers in a hallway. As McNeil tried to flee, another officer shot him. McNeil died a few days later.
Mora was in critical condition for days but was kept on life support so his organs could be donated in accordance with his and his family’s wishes. With his organ donations, Mora was able to save five lives.
Mora, who grew up as the youngest child in a close-knit Dominican family, joined the police academy in 2018 and was assigned to the Harlem precinct the next year.
To those who knew him best, the 6-foot-3 Mora was a “gentle giant” and “big teddy bear,” NewsNation local affiliate PIX11 News reported.
His brother, Wilson Mora, said during Wednesday’s services that Wilbert was known to shower everyone with love.
“You always lit up the room with your smile,” Wilson Mora said. “Always happy and mellow. Not an ounce of meanness in your whole body. … You were always so affectionate with everyone you got close to.”
As she did for Rivera at his funeral, Police Commissioner Keechant Sewell gave Mora a posthumous promotion to the highest rank for a detective in the NYPD: detective first-grade.
Top leaders from New York, including Mayor Eric Adams and Gov. Kathy Hochul, were present at Mora’s service.
Mora and Rivera were the first NYPD officers since 2017 to be killed in the line of duty.