fatal harlem ambush

NYPD Officer Who Killed Suspect in Deadly Harlem Ambush Promoted

Det. Sumit Sulan lost his NYPD colleagues -- 22-year-old Jason Rivera and 27-year-old Wilbert Mora -- on the evening of Jan. 21 during a shooting while responding to a domestic violence call.

NBC Universal, Inc.

What to Know

The NYPD officer who shot and killed the suspect in the fatal Harlem ambush that claimed the lives of two of his colleagues, was promoted to detective Tuesday for his actions.

In a tweet, Police Commissioner Keechant Sewell shared a video from the ceremony, calling Sumit Sulan's actions on Jan. 21 "heroic."

Sulan lost two NYPD colleagues that night: 22-year-old Jason Rivera and 27-year-old Wilbert Mora. Rivera and Mora were killed after being shot during a domestic violence call in Harlem.

Sulan's new badge number -- #332 -- holds a special meaning. According to Sewall, the number symbolizes three brothers from the 32 Precinct.

On the evening of Jan. 21, the three uniformed officers responded to a domestic disturbance call around 6:15 p.m. on West 135th Street by a mother who said she was fighting with her son, according to police. She did not mention any injuries, or any weapons, on the call.

After officers arrived, Mora and Rivera went to a rear bedroom, where the suspect fired multiple times as they approached the door. The gunman, Lashawn McNeil, 47, died after a third officer, rookie Sumit Sulan, shot him as he tried to flee.

Both officers were rushed to the hospital, where Rivera was pronounced dead, police said. Mora held on for days before finally succumbing to his injuries and his organs were donated.

During Sulan's promotion ceremony, Sewell said that at the start of the shooting, Sulan directed McNeil's mother and another person into the kitchen -- shielding them from the shots -- before heading to the direction of the violent ambush. Sewell went on to say that his heroic actions likely saved the lives of other officers responding to the shooting.

According to multiple senior officials with direct knowledge of the investigation, the accused shooter, McNeil, had a history of paranoia and an increasingly rabid belief in anti-government conspiracy theories. That embrace of conspiracy theories only deepened once he moved to Harlem, the officials said, and he tried to convert others in his family to his point of view.

Mora and Rivera were the first NYPD officers killed in the line of duty by a gunman since 2017, when Miosotis Familia, 48, was ambushed as she wrote in a notebook in a mobile command post in the Bronx. Two officers killed in 2019 died by friendly fire.

Rivera and Mora were posthumously promoted to detectives first-grade during their funerals.

Copyright NBC New York
Contact Us