NEW YORK (Reuters) -Thousands of New York City police officers lined Manhattan’s Fifth Avenue on Friday to honor a fellow officer who was shot and killed last week while responding to a domestic violence call.
Officers dressed in blue uniforms with white gloves carried the flag-draped coffin of Jason Rivera, 22, one of four New York City officers shot over the past week, into a funeral service held in Manhattan’s iconic St. Patrick’s Cathedral.
As his fellow officers consoled each other and wiped tears from their eyes, Rivera’s widow, Dominique Luzuriaga, said she felt lost without him.
“I couldn’t believe you left me. Seeing you in a hospital bed wrapped in sheets, not hearing when I was talking to you, broke me,” Luzuriaga said in a eulogy, her voice cracking. “Although I gained thousands of blue brothers and sisters, I’m the loneliest without you.”
Rivera was shot along with officer Wilbert Mora, 27, after they and a third officer, a rookie, responded to a Jan. 21 disturbance https://www.reuters.com/world/us/two-new-york-city-police-officers-shot-harlem-are-critical-condition-2022-01-22 in Harlem in which a woman said she was having a fight with one of her sons.
Shortly after arriving on the scene, Rivera and Mora were fired upon in a narrow hallway by the woman’s adult son. The rookie officer then shot the suspect, LaShawn McNeil, 47. Both Mora and McNeil died of their injuries this week.
Mayor Eric Adams told mourners at Rivera’s funeral that the slain officer had helped make New Yorkers feel safe.
“He can still hear us from a distance. He hears our voices, he hears our prayers, he hears our hopes,” Adams said. “We as a city, as a state and as a nation, we say thank you, Jason.”
Adams, a former police captain, is grappling with a spike in violent crime and police shootings, including a separate incident last week in which a 16-year-old was charged with shooting and wounding an officer in the Bronx.
The suspect was released Thursday on a $250,000 bond, which Adams said was proof the city’s public safety system needed reform.
“New Yorkers should all be outraged that a repeat offender, accused of shooting at a police officer, is today walking free on bond because judges are precluded from even considering danger to the community,” Adams said in a statement.
(Writing by Rami Ayyub; Editing by Mark Porter and David Gregorio)