‘Trying to Cope': Family of Officer Who Shot, Killed Suspect Shares How Cop Is Doing

Rookie officer Sumit Sulan raced from the precinct down the block to the domestic call that quickly turned deadly, and was in the apartment as fellow officers Jason River and Wilbert Mora were shot

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What to Know

  • A 22-year-old NYPD officer was killed and another officer, 27, is in critical condition after they were shot in Harlem Friday evening while responding to a domestic violence call
  • The officers were shot by the suspect, identified as 47-year-old Lashawn McNeil, as they approached a rear bedroom; both were rushed to the hospital, where one was pronounced dead and the other in critical condition
  • McNeil died of his wounds Monday after being shot by a third officer

For the first time since two officers were shot and killed in Harlem, the family of the third officer who shot and killed the alleged gunman is sharing how that young officer has been dealing with everything that he witnessed and did.

"He's coping, trying to cope, but that's all I can say. I don't want to say anything for him," said Harsha Sulan, the sister of Officer Sumit Sulan. "He's trying his best, I don't want to say anything on his behalf."

The rookie officer raced from the precinct down the block to the domestic call that quickly turned deadly. Sulan was in the apartment as fellow officers Jason River and Wilbert Mora were allegedly shot by Lashawn McNeil.

The 29-year-old Sulan shot McNeil as he tried to escape the apartment. McNeil was taken to the hospital in critical condition, and died on Monday.

Sulan's sister said that the family was happy for him and how he was doing after becoming an officer.

"We were proud, he was doing his job very well. We were proud of him," Harsha Sulan said.

Her brother became an officer after working as an inspector for the Taxi and Limousine Commission. He had been working out of the 32nd precinct in Harlem for just two and a half months before Friday's tragedy.

Harsha Sulan said while her brother heals, their family's prayers are with the families of Rivera and Mora.

"We are really sorry for him, and we're sorry for the family, we feel really hurt for the family. We hope it didn't end up like this," she said.

NYPD Officer Jason Rivera had always wanted to become a cop. One of his former coworkers remembered the 22-year-old who made his dream come true before his life was cut short by a gunman. NBC New York's Marc Santia reports.

Sulan's family and the department are doing whatever they can to support him after the tragic incident, Harsha Sulan said. She said everything that happened is, understandably, "overwhelming" for her brother at this time.

"I think it's a lot for him, he's dealing with his own trauma. But let's see, maybe he will reach out to the family when he feels like he's ready to," Harsha Sulan said of her brother.

The funeral for slain NYPD Officer Jason Rivera will be this Friday at St. Patrick's Cathedral, as his colleague Wilbert Mora clings to life after being shot in Harlem Friday evening while responding to a domestic violence call.

Lashawn McNeil, the man suspected of shooting them, died of his wounds Monday, the NYPD and Mayor Eric Adams said.

Mora, 27, was gravely injured in the gun battle with McNeil. The NYPD confirmed Sunday that he was being transferred from Harlem Hospital, where he was initially taken Friday, to NYU Langone Medical Center.

Rivera, Mora and another uniformed officer 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, they went to a rear bedroom, where McNeil fired multiple times as they approached the door. The man then tried to run from the apartment, but was confronted by the third officer, Sulan, who shot him twice.

In addition to the gun he was firing, sources say another weapon was found under his bed, a privately assembled weapon based on parts purchased and registered in Michigan. The ATF/NYPD Joint Firearms Task force was still trying to figure out how the AR-15-type assault weapon got into McNeil's possession, a senior law enforcement official said.

One round was found in the second gun's chamber, law enforcement officials said, along with 19 more in a magazine.

Sources previously said McNeil's mother had told police she was not aware he had guns in the apartment.

The gun battle left Officer Jason Rivera, 22, dead. According to multiple senior officials with direct knowledge of the investigation, the accused shooter, McNeil, has a history of increasingly rabid belief in anti-government conspiracy theories. Officials are also looking into the possibility that McNeil continued firing after the officers were down, and before he charged down a hallway and was shot himself.

Officer Jason Rivera's service will be at St. Patrick's Cathedral. Tracie Strahan and Romney Smith report.

NYPD Shooting Timeline of Events

The call for a domestic disturbance came in around 6:15 p.m. from an apartment on West 135th Street between Malcolm X Boulevard and Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Boulevard, near Harlem Hospital.

According to a senior NYPD official with direct knowledge of the investigation, McNeil had been living with his mother since November, after she brought him to New York from Baltimore to help her with another child who was unwell.

McNeil has a history of paranoia and was involved in anti-government groups in Maryland, officials familiar with the investigation said. 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.

Three responding officers spoke with the mother who called regarding a fight she had with her son, according to police. According to the official, the fight was strictly verbal and not physical in nature, and would not likely have led to anything more than a written report.

McNeil's mother and the other son briefly talked with officers in the front of the one-bedroom apartment, police said.

Two officers were then heading to the back bedroom to speak with Lashawn McNeil, while the third stayed with the two family members in the front of the apartment, according to police.

The bedroom was located down a long, narrow hallway, about 30 feet from the front living room where the officers entered, police said. As the officers approached, the door swung open and the suspect, McNeil, opened fire. According to the senior NYPD official, McNeil's mother told him last year not to bring guns to her home, and has claimed to authorities she did not know he had the murder weapon in her apartment.

Police said that Lashawn McNeil who shot two NYPD officers. He was shot by another officer and taken to the hospital, where he was in critical condition.

It was unclear how many shots were fired, but both officers were struck. Jason Rivera was ultimately killed, Wilbert Mora critically injured.

As McNeil tried to run from the apartment, he encountered the third officer, who police sources said is a rookie in the NYPD. The officer fired two rounds, striking McNeil in the right arm and head. The third officer was not shot.

"The three officers who arrived arrived at that scene were doing their job. They came to answer a call for service every single day. They were listening to a mother who called needing help for her son," NYPD Commissioner Keechant Sewell said. "As officers were compassionately trying to provide aid to a 47-year-old man, he suddenly, without warning, opened fire on them. In a moment, a young, 22-year-old life was ended, and another, forever altered."

A Glock .45 — with an extended magazine that holds up to 40 additional rounds — was recovered at the scene. Police said the gun was stolen in Baltimore in 2017.

A photo of the gun used in the shooting of two NYPD officers, one of whom died and the other listed in critical condition

The NYPD said the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms/NYPD Joint Firearms Task Force is helping in the investigation into how the gunman obtained and brought the weapons to New York City. The ATF/NYPD Crime Gun Intelligence Center is leading efforts to track all gun intelligence leads.

The entire deadly incident was captured on police officers' body camera, a senior law enforcement official said. Police said that it was still an active crime scene, and that an investigation is ongoing. NYPD Chief of Detectives James Essig said that anyone who has information regarding the shooting should contact the 32nd detectives' squad, or call CrimeStoppers.

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