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Sister of Slain Cop Slams Inaction of Lawmakers at Memorial Ceremony

Detective Wilbert Mora and Detective Jason Rivera were added to the 32nd Precinct’s Wall of Remembrance. (Photo: Desi Cuellar)

‘How Many More Wilberts? How Many More Jasons?’

HARLEM — The still-grieving sister of a slain police detective lashed out at what she charged is the inaction of legislators to pass stricter public safety laws to crack down on criminals and help protect the lives of cops.

Karina Mora, whose brother, Detective Wilbert Mora, was gunned down in January with his partner, Detective Jason Rivera, spoke at a remembrance ceremony on Friday, May 20 at the 32nd Precinct in Harlem and issued a plaintiff plea for action.

“Crime and a system that continues to fail us stole Gilbert’s life, buried his dreams, his joy, and ours, with him. And to the legislators: Three months ago, as a call for help, I explained: Enough already,” Mora said. “And to this day, neither the death of Wilbert nor that of his partner, nor the pain of our families, nor the pain of a community, has made you do anything to change the conditions that put them at such a disadvantage in the NYPD uniform.

“How many more Wilberts? How many more Jasons and how many more broken families do you need, to take action?” she asked.

The ceremony was held to mark the re-dedication of a Wall of Remembrance in the 32nd Precinct, which contained plaques dedicated to 27 police officers who have been killed in the line of duty in the precinct’s history. 

The names of Mora and Rivera were added to the wall which will be on permanent display in the station house where the two detectives worked.

Karina Mora’s words echoed those of Dominique Luzuriaga, the widow of Det. Rivera, who eulogized her husband at his funeral at St. Patrick’s Cathedral in January. “The system continues to fail us. We’re not safe anymore,” she said.

Rivera, 22, who joined the NYPD in 2020, and Mora, 27, who became a cop in 2018, were shot while answering a domestic violence call in a West 135th Street apartment on Jan. 21. As the officers walked down a hallway, the suspect, Lashawn McNeil, 47, stepped out of a room and opened fire, police said.

A third cop on the scene, Det. Sumit Sulan, shot McNeil in the head and arm when he tried to escape the apartment, police said. Rivera succumbed to his injuries that same night. Mora passed away on Jan. 25.

The fatal incident took place months ago, but the pain is still there for the families as evidenced in their touching remarks at Friday’s ceremony.

“They never truly leave us and there are things that death cannot touch,” said Dominique Luzuriaga, the widow of Det. Rivera. “Although I was never ready for him to leave, I was always ready for him to stay in my heart.”

Luzuriaga had a bit of advice for everyone in attendance at the ceremony. “Don’t forget to tell your favorite people that you love them today,” she said.

The pain of loss was also a focus of the remarks of Inspector Amir Yakatally, the commander of the 32nd Precinct, who shared his memories of the two slain detectives. “Wilbert and Jason came on the job at one of the most tumultuous times in history. They kept their personality and they did not get jaded. Both made everyone around them smile. That energy was contagious. It made you feel like this job isn’t so bad,” he recalled.

Police Commissioner Keechant Sewell said the memorial wall will serve as an important reminder. “As we unveil the plaques upon the wall of the 32, the names of our heroes will forever be memorialized for the next generation of the NYPD to honor. Today, we honor the pledge we made that we will never forget who they were, how they lived,” she said.

Prior to the ceremony, police officers gathered at St. Aloysius Church three blocks from the precinct for a memorial Mass for Mora and Rivera. Msgr. Robert Romano, the NYPD chaplain who celebrated the Mass, praised the two detectives, saying, “They put on the uniform every day. They went out into the streets to do the work of God.”