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Young officer killed in Harlem joins to help ‘chaotic city’

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Young officer killed in Harlem joins to help ‘chaotic city’

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NEW YORK – The 22-year-old New York police officer who was shot while responding to a call in a Harlem apartment came from an immigrant family and grew up in a community with connections strained with the police, but joined the force to make a difference in the “chaotic city,” he once wrote.

“I know that something as small as helping a tourist get their bearings, or helping a couple solve a problem, will put a smile on someone’s face,” Jason Rivera wrote to his CO in 2020 as he was a police officer on training.

Rivera and Officer Wilbert Mora were shot Friday night while responding to a call about an argument between a woman and her adult son. Mora, 27, was seriously injured and “fighting for his life” on Saturday, Mayor Eric Adams said. Cardinal Timothy Dolan, Archbishop of New York, visited Mora and his family in the hospital and gave the injured officer a blessing, according to an archdiocese spokesman.

Police say the man who shot them, Lashawn J. McNeil, 47, was also seriously injured and hospitalized, authorities said.

The shooting is the latest in a series of crimes that have angered the nation’s largest city.

In the three weeks since Adams took office, a 19-year-old cashier was shot while working late at night at a Burger King, a woman was shoved to death at a gas station underground and a baby was seriously injured. injured when she was hit by a stray bullet while sitting in a parked car with her mother. With the Harlem shooting on Friday night, four police officers had been shot in as many days.

And the city is recovering from its deadliest blaze in three decades, a Bronx apartment fire that killed 17 people.

“It’s hard to believe, but it’s only been three weeks, and it hasn’t stopped since,” Adams told residents during a roundtable on gun violence on Saturday. “But I want you to know very clearly that I’m more energetic. I’m not tired. I’m not stressed.

Rivera joined the force in November 2020.

Growing up in Manhattan’s Inwood neighborhood, he noticed tension with the police, according to a brief essay titled “Why I Became a Policeman,” a copy of which was obtained by The Associated Press.

“I remember one day when I saw my brother being stopped and searched. I wondered, why are we stopped if we are in a taxi? ” he wrote. “My perspective on the police and how they are police really bothered me.”

Young officer killed in Harlem joins to help ‘chaotic city’

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