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Thousands fill streets to mourn fallen NYPD Officer Wilbert Mora

By Calley Hair & Simon Druker
1/5
Thousands fill streets to mourn fallen NYPD Officer Wilbert Mora
Police officers line Fifth Avenue tor many blocks waiting for the procession of slain NYPD officer Wilbert Mora after his funeral services at St. Patrick's Cathedral in New York City on Wednesday. Photo by Louis Lanzano/UPI | License Photo

Feb. 2 (UPI) -- Thousands of people gathered in New York City on Wednesday to mourn the death of New York Police Department Officer Wilbert Mora, who was fatally shot on duty last month.

Mora was killed alongside his partner, Officer Jason Rivera, after responding to a domestic violence call. Rivera's memorial service was held last week, making Wednesday's event the second such funeral to take over an entire swath of the city.

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Police officers, friends and family members packed onto Fifth Avenue in Manhattan to pay tribute to the fallen officer as services were held in St Patrick's Cathedral.

Seven people delivered eulogies, including Mayor Eric Adams and NYPD Commissioner Keechant Sewell. The attendees included New York Gov. Kathy Hochul.

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"We reflect on his bravery. We remember his sacrifice," said Adams, who previously served as an officer in the NYPD for 20 years.

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"Those of us who have put on the uniform know what happened to Officer Mora could happen to us any day," Adams said. "Officer Mora was not only a dedicated public servant, but an exceptional young man, beloved by his family."

Sewell gave portions of her eulogy in Spanish; Mora's family is from the Dominican Republic.

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She posthumously promoted Mora to detective first-grade. She'd granted Rivera the same honor at his service.

"Even among the city's skyscrapers, scaffolding and buildings, at 6 feet, 3 inches tall, police Officer Wilbert Mora was still a giant," Sewell said.

"Today, we find ourselves here where no one should ever be for reasons that we are. An ocean of officers shouldn't have to line streets for the second time in five days to mourn the appalling loss of a 27-year-old son and brother."

He was remembered by mourners as a dedicated police officer and joyful young man. His brother, Wilson Mora, said in an emotional eulogy that his little brother was a "big teddy bear" who would light up the room with his smile.

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"Not an ounce of meanness in your body," he said. "People gravitated to you because they could lower their defenses and be themselves around you."

Mora's sister, Karina, Mora and brother, Wilson, also spoke, along with a cousin.

"I just want you to know that I was always proud of you. You chose a life of service to your community into our adopted country," Wilson Mora said.

"Your fellow officers were not only co-workers. They were friends and family. And now they're my family. I love you baby bro and I will always miss you."

After the services, Mora's body was transported via motorcade for a burial in Woodside, Queens.

Mora, 27, and Rivera, 22, were assigned to Manhattan's 32nd precinct. They were shot Jan. 21 after responding to a domestic dispute involving the gunman, 47-year-old Lashawn McNeil. According to police, McNeil swung open a bedroom door and opened fire with a .45-caliber pistol, hitting both officers in the head.

Rivera died that night; Mora was transported to the hospital, where he died four days later.

A third officer, Sumit Sulan, shot the gunman as he tried to flee. McNeil died on Jan. 24.

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Rivera and Mora, both Dominican, were emblematic of an evolving NYPD working to serve and represent the city's communities of color. As a student at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, Mora focused his studies on the impact of stop-and-frisk policies.

"He even wrote his final research paper examining the effectiveness of proactive and reactive policing in reducing crime, discussing the effects of stop-and-frisk and community policing in New York City," Professor Irina Zakirova, who taught his capstone seminar, told The New York Times.

According to local organ donation organization LiveOnNY, Mora donated his organs upon his death, which reportedly saved five lives.

NYPD holds funeral for slain Officer Wilbert Mora

NYPD officers carry Officer Wilbert Mora's casket out of St. Patrick's Cathedral in New York City on Wednesday after his funeral service. He and his partner, Officer Jason Rivera, were fatally shot on a domestic violence call at a Harlem apartment. Pool Photo by Craig Ruttle/UPI | License Photo

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