Hundreds of New York City first responders lined the streets Sunday as a hearse transported the body of slain Officer Jason Rivera, 22, from the medical examiner’s office to a funeral home in Inwood.
A helicopter, ambulances, and dozens of police vehicles escorted the hearse, with motorcycle units leading the way. Officers, firefighters, and EMS personnel stood solemnly in silence as Rivera’s body made its final trip to Inwood – where he grew up, according to NY1.
Procession carrying @NYPD32Pct hero P.O. Jason Rivera departs the Medical Examiner’s Office to continue his journey home.
— NYC PBA (@NYCPBA) January 23, 2022
#NYPD Aviation & Harbor joined hundreds of fellow officers who lined the streets to honor & salute fallen hero Police Officer Jason Rivera during an escort to the funeral home. We continue to pray for Officer Wilbert Mora who remains critically injured in the hospital. pic.twitter.com/1PY7WhVb2F
— NYPD Special Ops (@NYPDSpecialops) January 23, 2022
“Don’t forget my brother because he loved all of you,” Rivera’s brother told those paying their respects, WABC reports.
A young boy dressed in a child’s police uniform was in attendance to pay tribute to the fallen officer. “He said he wants to ‘be a hero just like Officer Rivera,'” News 12’s Mary-Lyn Buckley said in a tweet.
The photo below is why Police Officer Jason Rivera will never be forgotten. He was a hero. Officer Rivera’s sacrifice for New Yorkers will be his legacy that inspires the next generation of NYC police officers, our heroes. #BacktheBlue https://t.co/TiuXYEUbPD
— NYC PBA (@NYCPBA) January 24, 2022
Rivera’s widow posted a touching tribute to Instagram, telling her “beautiful angel” to “fly high.”
“Jason and I, our love goes way back. Way back to little kids that didn’t know anything about love; but yet expressed it,” she wrote in an Instagram story.
The couple was married on October 9, according to another Instagram post.
Police say Lashawn McNeil, 47, fatally shot Rivera while the young officer was responding to a domestic violence call between a mother and her adult son in Harlem Friday night, Breitbart News reported.
Officer Wilbert Mora, 27, was also shot and is in critical condition suffering from a severe head wound, according to the Associated Press. McNeil was subsequently shot twice by a third officer, Breitbart News reported. His status is not clear.
The New York Post reports:
Mora, who is single and has been on the job since 2018, is “in for a long struggle, but we’re hoping he makes it through that struggle,” Police Benevolent Association President Pat Lynch said outside the hospital. “He’s a strong kid. So we’re hopeful that one day you will be here, and we walk him out.”
After the procession made its way north and arrived at the Riverdale Funeral Home, Rivera’s mother was visibly distraught, screaming in agony over the loss of her beloved son, a news clip from WABC shows.
Teacher Samantha Love, who had Rivera as a student during his sophomore and junior years at Washington Heights Expeditionary Learning School, spoke with WABC and painted a picture of a selfless person, always willing to help others. He graduated in 2017.
During his training in the police academy in November of 2020, Rivera wrote a letter to his commanding officer stating why he became an officer, according to NY1. In the letter, Rivera says, “I knew this was the career for me.”
“I know that something as small as helping a tourist with directions, or helping a couple resolve an issue, will put a smile on someone’s face,” Rivera wrote.
"Why I became a police officer"
Written by NYPD Officer Jason Rivera, 22-year who grew up in Inwood, killed last night in the line of duty.
Stop whatever you are doing and read this. pic.twitter.com/VGDhH4WMIY
— Mark D. Levine (@MarkLevineNYC) January 22, 2022
“A wake for Rivera will be held at St. Patrick’s Cathedral on Thursday from 1 p.m.-8 p.m. Family and friends will say their final goodbyes on Friday, starting at 9 a.m., also at St. Patrick’s,” WCBS reports.
Benevolent Association President Lynch is calling on the public to attend Rivera’s services.
“Please join us to mourn Police Officer Jason Rivera as if he was your own flesh and blood. And please pray hard for our injured brother, because he is your brother, too,” Lynch said, according to the New York Post.
“They walked these city streets beside you. They shared the same dreams and the same worries that you have,” he said.