NYPD officer Jason Rivera mourned by hundreds in Harlem vigil

Hundreds gathered for a somber vigil outside the NYPD’s 32nd precinct in Harlem Saturday evening, one day after a crazed gunman killed one officer and critically injured another.

The vigil came after a rookie Officer Jason Rivera, 22, was killed and his partner Officer Wilbert Mora, 27, was critically injured when they were shot by a man in apartment after responding to a domestic incident.

“He was always smiling, a friendly guy,” Officer Victor Guzman of the 32nd precinct said of Rivera. “He was young, 22 years old. It’s a lot.”

Rivera and Guzman went through the police academy together, Guzman told The Post.

“When I’m going through everyone’s academy pictures, he was a very cheerful guy, always smiling. Always happy,” Guzman said.

The crowd spilled out into the street, with some holding candles and others signs of support for the department. A nearby tree was wrapped in a blue ribbon and decorated with red, white and blue candles and bouquets of flowers.

An NYPD officer attends a vigil for slain Officer Jason Rivera outside of the 32nd Precinct in Harlem on Jan. 22, 2022.
DANIEL WILLIAM MCKNIGHT
An NYPD officer is comforted during Saturday night's vigil.
An NYPD officer is comforted during Saturday night’s vigil.
DANIEL WILLIAM MCKNIGHT
Flowers and candles are placed outside of Harlem's 32nd NYPD precinct.
Flowers and candles are placed outside of Harlem’s 32nd NYPD precinct.
DANIEL WILLIAM MCKNIGHT

A police officer from the 115th precinct Queens said he felt it was his duty to attend the evening’s vigil.

“It’s a fellow police officer. It’s the right thing to do. It’s a time to come together.”

The crowd of mourners included NYPD officers and local leaders Mayor Eric Adams and New York State Attorney General Letitia James.

An emotional Adams told the crowd the city was in a “battle” with a small number of people looking to “hold the city hostage with violence.”

”We know some would say 95 percent of the city is good. I say 99 percent of the city is good. Let’s weed out that 1 percent,” Adams said.

New York City mayor Eric Adams speaks to the crowd during the vigil on Jan. 22, 2022.
New York City mayor Eric Adams speaks to the crowd during the vigil on Jan. 22, 2022.
DANIEL WILLIAM MCKNIGHT
Mourners attend the vigil for officer Jason Rivera on Jan. 22, 2022.
Mourners attend the vigil for officer Jason Rivera on Jan. 22, 2022.
DANIEL WILLIAM MCKNIGHT

Since the new year began, five NYPD officers have been shot on the job.

“We are not going to be intimidated by those who believe we should look down on the men and women who put on their bulletproof vests, stand on street corners protecting children and families as though they should be ashamed of the occupation that they are holding in the city,” Adams said.

“They are not ashamed. I was not ashamed to wear that uniform and they are not going to be ashamed to wear that uniform.  I have the backs of my police officers.”

"I say 99 percent of the city is good. Let’s weed out that 1 percent," NYC mayor Eric Adams said as he spoke to those who attended the vigil on Jan. 22, 2022.
“I say 99 percent of the city is good. Let’s weed out that 1 percent,” NYC mayor Eric Adams said as he spoke to those who attended the vigil on Jan. 22, 2022.
DANIEL WILLIAM MCKNIGHT

As he did at a press conference outside of Harlem Hospital on Friday night, the mayor pleaded to the federal government to help stop the flow of guns into the city.

Adams’ Chief advisor, Chaplain Ingrid Lewis Martin, told The Post the city has to “do better” against gun violence.

“He went to help a mother who cried out because her son was being violent towards her. He ended up losing his life so now his mother and family mourn,” he said.

“When we know that our children have guns, it’s our obligation to let the police know. When we know our neighbors have guns, it’s our obligation to let the police know.”

Rivera, who grew up in Inwood and joined the force in 2020, said that wanted to join the NYPD to “better the relationship between the community and the police,” he wrote in a letter obtained by The Post. He was the first in his family, who are immigrants, to become a member of the department.

Members of the FDNY were among those in attendance at the vigil for slain NYD officer Jason Rivera on Jan. 22, 2022.
Members of the FDNY were among those in attendance at the vigil for slain NYPD officer Jason Rivera on Jan. 22, 2022.
DANIEL WILLIAM MCKNIGHT
A man places a candle in a roadside vigil in honor of NYPD officer Jason Rivera on Jan. 22, 2022.
A man places a candle in a roadside vigil in honor of NYPD officer Jason Rivera on Jan. 22, 2022.
DANIEL WILLIAM MCKNIGHT

Rivera, Mora and a third officer responded to a domestic disturbance call around 6:15 p.m. on Friday night from a woman who said she needed help with her son.

Authorities said Lashawn McNeil, 47, allegedly swung open a door in the apartment at 119 West 135th St. and opened fire on Rivera and Mora when they approached the bedroom he was in.

A third officer shot McNeil in the head and arm as the alleged shooter tried to flee. McNeil was in critical condition at Harlem Hospital on Saturday, police said.