Two police officers, 22-year-old Jason Rivera and 27-year-old Wilbert Mora, are dead after being shot during a domestic violence call in Harlem Friday night, and emotional NYPD leaders said the whole city should now be in mourning for their loss.
Rivera died Friday night, shortly after the shooting; Mora held on until Tuesday before finally succumbing to his injuries.
Rivera's funeral will be Friday at St. Patrick's Cathedral; Mora's will be at the cathedral next Wednesday. On Wednesday the NYPD conducted a "dignified transfer" of Mora's remains to a funeral home, just as they previously did for Rivera.
'Fidelis Ad Mortem" Meaning
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Many have noted that the pictures of Wilbert Mora and Jason Rivera tweeted by the NYPD carried the same Latin phrase, "Fidelis Ad Mortem."
A motto of the NYPD, "Fidelis Ad Mortem" translates to "Faithful Unto Death."
The department uses it as a mark of respect for fallen officers - not just from its own ranks, but from around the country as well. When a police officer passes in the line of duty around the country, the department will often tweet their photo alongside the motto and an NYPD shield wrapped in a black mourning band.
(For an exclusive interview with the Rivera family in Spanish from Telemundo 47, click here.)
Rivera was assigned to the 32nd Precinct, headquartered on the same block as the shooting, which took place at 119 W. 135th Street, less than a quarter-mile away.
Rivera's body was transported from the hospital later Friday evening to the medical examiner's office, given a full escort by a long line of police vehicles. Fellow officers lined the streets to bid farewell to their fallen comrade.
The NY Police and Fire Widows' & Children's Benefit Fund, also known as Answer the Call, said it would provide his widow an immediate $25,000 and raise funds to keep providing her a stipend annually for life. (The 2021 stipend was $11,000, the group said.)
While at the Police Academy, Rivera wrote an earnest letter to his commanding officer about why he became a cop. News 4 New York obtained a copy of that letter, below:
When I applied to become a police officer, I knew this was the career for me. I would be the first person in my family to become a police officer. Coming from an immigrant family, I will be the first to say that I am a member of the NYPD, the greatest police force in the world. Growing up in New York City, I realized impactful my role as a police officer would go in this chaotic city of about 10 million people. I know that somethings so small is helping a tourist with directions, or helping a couple resolve an issue will put a smile on someone’s face.
growing up in Inwood, Manhattan, the communities relationship between the police and the community was not great. I remember one day when I witnessed my brother being stopped and frisked. I ask myself why are we being pulled over if we are in a taxi? I was too young to know that during that time, the NYPD was pulling over and risking people at a higher rate. My perspective on police and the way they police really bothered me. As time went on I saw the NYPD pushing hard on changing the relationship between the police and the community. this was when I realized that I wanted to be part of the men in blue; better the relationship between the community and the police.
More was also assigned to the 32nd Precinct, headquartered on the same block as the shooting.
There were erroneous reports Friday night that he had also died, though his condition was described as critical throughout.
His family was by his side at Harlem Hospital, where he was rushed after the shooting. He was later transferred to NYU Langone Medical Center, where he underwent surgery to donate his heart, liver, pancreas and both kidneys.
Police Commissioner Keechant Sewell called him "3 times a hero. For choosing a life of service. For sacrificing his life to protect others. For giving life even in death through organ donation."
Answer the Call said it would provide Mora's family an immediate $25,000 as well.