The sister of the NYPD ‘super rookie’ who took down the gunman who killed 22-year-old Officer Jason Rivera, says her family is incredibly proud of him but revealed her brother is still ‘struggling’ to cope in the aftermath of the shooting.
Meanwhile, Rivera’s grieving widow shared the heartfelt letters she and her late husband wrote to each other when they were in high school.
On Monday, Harsha Sulan said her brother, Officer Sumit Sulan, 27, who has been branded a ‘hero rookie’ after taking down suspect Lashawn McNeil was ‘trying his best.’
‘It’s a lot to take and it’s overwhelming for him,’ she said. ‘He’s coping. He’s trying to cope, I don’t want to say anything for him. He will say something when he’s ready,’ she told the gathered press from the steps of her Queens family home.
Sumit Sulan was seen entering the family home earlier that day, wearing a face mask and hoodie.
When asked if the family felt proud of Sulan, his sister answered without hesitation: ‘A hundred percent. We were proud of him. He was doing a good job.’
Sulan shot Lashawn McNeil, 47, as he tried to flee the Harlem residence where Sulan, Rivera and 27-year-old Wilbert Mora had been called to investigate a domestic-violence incident on Friday.
After McNeil shot his two partners, Sulan returned fire. McNeil, who was out on probation at the time of the shooting on a 2003 felony narcotics charge, died on Monday afternoon from injuries sustained at the Friday altercation. Mora is still fighting for his life at NYU Langone Medical Center.
Since the events, Officer Sulan cannot get what happened out of his head, his mother told the New York Post Sunday.
‘His brain is stuck on the situation,’ Dalvir Sulan, 60, said of her son, who emigrated from the family’s home in India about 15 years ago.
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Officer Sumit Sulan, the NYPD ‘super rookie’ who shot the man accused of killing 22-year-old Jason Rivera, was seen at his home in Queens on Monday
His sister revealed that Sulan is still ‘struggling’ to cope in the aftermath of the shootout
Harsha Sulan, 29, said her family was incredibly proud of her brother, Officer Sumit Sulan
Harsha Sulan became emotional as she discussed her heroic brother on the steps of her family home
‘I’m proud. Everyone say he did good,’ Sulan’s mother said. ‘I feel bad for the other [officer]. He died. We really feel bad. We’re sorry. We’re hurt.’
Sulan has only been on the job since April and at Harlem’s 32nd Precinct for two months, a law enforcement source told the Post.
He had been assigned just to observe Rivera and Mora in action.
‘He did a great job. We’re proud of him, but we’re sorry for both of [the other officers],’ she said.
On Sunday, hundreds of NYPD officers, paramedics and emergency responders gathered in Manhattan to salute Officer Rivera’s casket as it passed by.
His widow, Dominique Luzuriaga, shared several touching tributes to him on Instagram and on Monday, shared a heartfelt letter he had sent her.
‘Dear Dominique, I don’t know where to start. You are my best friend in the whole entire school. I really love you but you never believe me when I say I love you,’ the letter read.
‘Every night, I always say to myself, how will life be without you…I want you to know that I will always trust you/love you…I want to be married to you…I don’t know if I have told you this but I am in love with [you].’
Another letter which appeared to be addressed to Rivera from his widow read: ‘I hope you do good in school and you better not drop out cuz I’ll kick your cake. Lmao Good luck baby! I love you just a little.’
Luzuriaga also shared pictures of her and her husband on their prom night, adding that she wished she had taken more pictures with him.
Rivera’s grieving widow shared pictures of her and her husband on their prom night, adding that she wished she had taken more pictures with him
She also shared the heartfelt letters she and her late husband wrote to each other when they were in high school
Another letter which appeared to be addressed to Rivera from his widow read: ‘I hope you do good in school and you better not drop out cuz I’ll kick your cake. Lmao Good luck baby! I love you just a little’
Officer Jason Rivera was killed in the shooting, while Wilbert Mora, 27, is still ‘fighting for his life’ in NYU Langone Medical Center
McNeil was out on probation at the time of the shooting on a 2003 felony narcotics charge in New York City and had four arrests in other states
Mora was transferred on Sunday night from Harlem Hospital to NYU Langone Medical Center, where he continues to fight for his life in life-threatening condition, reported ABC 7.
He had already undergone two surgeries to remove a bullet that had become stuck in his brain.
On Monday night, a candlelight vigil was held at 32nd precinct to honor Officer’s Rivera ultimate sacrifice. Members of the clergy, community activists and police officers prayed for Officer Mora’s recovery.
Earlier Sunday, hundreds of uniformed officers in Manhattan stood silent as Rivera’s body was transferred from the Medical Examiner’s Office to a funeral home. Burial rites are scheduled for Friday with a service scheduled for Thursday at St. Patrick’s Cathedral.
Police officers, firefighters and EMS members lined the streets from the office on 30th Street in Manhattan and up along First Avenue just after 12:30pm. Hundreds stood in silence before saluting while a hearse transported his body uptown.
Sulan shot and wounded the man accused of killing 22-year-old Jason Rivera and seriously injuring 27-year-old Wilbert Mora in Harlem on Friday. The suspect died on Monday
Makeshift memorial for fallen officer as members of clergy, community activists and police officers held rally and prayers at 32nd precinct for officers shot in Harlem
Dennis Rodriguez, President of New York Dominican Officers Organization speaks as members of clergy, community activists and police officers held rally and prayers at 32nd precinct
A makeshift memorial is seen outside the apartment of New York City Police Department Officer Wilbert Mora
Members of clergy, community activists and police officers held rally and prayers at 32nd precinct for officers shot in Harlem
Twenty-two-year-old Officer Jason Rivera was shot and killed and Officer Wilbert Mora critically injured while responding to a domestic call
A candlelight vigil was held at the 32nd precinct for officers shot in Harlem
The moving sight came as his grieving widow posted a moving tribute to her husband on Instagram on Sunday.
‘Fly high my beautiful angel,’ she wrote, together with a picture of Rivera’s locker that she took at the NYPD’s 32nd Precinct in central Harlem. The pair had been married for just over three months.
‘Yesterday I visited the locker room where you used to FaceTime me at during your meal time or right before you had to go downstairs to the muster room for roll call at 15:00.
‘Last night was suppose to be your day 5 & you were RDO [off] for the next three days. We both waited for your RDO’s to spend them together. But now your soul will spend the rest of my days with me, through me, right beside me.
‘I love you till the end of time,’ Rivera’s grieving widow wrote.
Her Instagram profile also includes photos of the newly married couple out in Liberty State Park in Jersey City.
Rivera’s widow posted an emotional tribute to him online. ‘Fly high my beautiful angel,’ she wrote, together with a picture of Rivera’s locker
Jason Rivera is pictured together with his wife whom he had married last October
The couple were married on October 9, 2021 and had some pictures taken in New Jersey
‘I love you till the end of time,’ Rivera’s grieving widow, pictured, wrote
In one posting, she describes her husband as ‘my soulmate, best friend and lover from now until the end of time.’
Relatives, together with hundreds of NYPD officers and Mayor Eric Adams paid tribute to Rivera as his body was moved to a Manhattan funeral home.
Meanwhile, during a Sunday morning appearance on CNN, Mayor Eric Adams stressed the urgency ‘to deal with the underlying issues that are impacting crime in our city and has become a stain on the inner cities across our country.’
Adams said his police force would revamp a plainclothes anti-crime unit aimed at getting guns off the streets. The unit had been disbanded in 2020 over concerns it accounted for a disproportionate number of shootings and complaints.
‘The symbol of that soiled coat with red blood is really what we’re talking about here in not only New York City, but across America. It just really has impacted our entire city, if not the entire country. And this is coming after having five officers shot, the 11-month baby shot in Brooklyn,’ the mayor said.
The shooting is the latest in a string of crimes that have unnerved the nation’s most populated city and the country’s largest police force, with 36,000 officers.
In the three weeks since Adams took office, a 19-year-old cashier was shot to death as she worked a late-night shift at a Burger King, a woman was pushed to her death in a subway station, and a baby was critically injured by a stray bullet while in a parked car with her mother. With the Harlem shooting Friday night, four police officers had been shot in as many days.
Details about what led to the deadly confrontation were still emerging.
Officials said a woman who made an emergency call Friday said she was ill and that her son who had come up to take care of her had become ‘problematic.’ Adams said the woman did not specify the problem.
Authorities said three officers went to the apartment after the call came in. The officers spoke with the woman and another son, but there was no mention of a weapon, police said.
NYPD Officer Wilbert Mora is transported by ambulance. Fellow Officer Jason Rivera was killed in the attack while responding to a domestic violence call between a woman and her adult son
NYPD Officer Wilbert Mora is transported by ambulance to NYU Langone from Harlem Hospital, where he had been since being wounded in a shooting last Friday
Police bikes could be seen leading the way as the journey was made from Harlem to NYU Langone on Manhattan’s east side
After Rivera and Mora walked from the front of the apartment down a narrow hallway to check on McNeil, he swung open a bedroom door and began shooting, police said.
Both officers were gunned down before they could pull their weapons and defend themselves, police said.
As McNeil tried to flee, Sulan, who had stayed with McNeil’s mother in the front of the apartment, shot at McNeil and wounded him in the head and arm, NYPD Chief of Detectives James Essig said.
McNeil had a 2003 drug conviction in New York City. He also had several out-of-state arrests. In 1998, he was arrested in South Carolina on suspicion of unlawfully carrying a pistol, but records show the matter was later dismissed.
In 2002, he was arrested in Pennsylvania on suspicion of assaulting a police officer, Essig said.
McNeil had been married but the couple separated nearly two decades ago, according to Theresa Noa, who is married to his ex-wife’s brother. She said McNeil had four children from that marriage.
The three cops visited a Harlem address to investigate a domestic-violence call on Friday, before convicted felon Lashawn McNeil, 47, ambushed them. Above, traffic stood still as the remains of Rivera were brought to a funeral home on Sunday
After McNeil shot his two partners, Sulan returned fire. He is still struggling to cope with the events, his mom told the New York Post. Above, New York City police officers and firemen stood at attention as they awaited the procession
Tears were shed for slain NYPD Officer Jason Rivera as a procession took place on Sunday for him to be moved to a funeral home
Police officers are pictured as they make their way from the police precinct over to Harlem hospital
A makeshift memorial is seen outside the NYPD 32nd precinct near the scene of the shooting
A man placed a candle at a makeshift memorial outside the NYPD 32nd precinct in Harlem
Growing up in Manhattan´s Inwood neighborhood, Jason Rivera said he noticed tensions with police, according to a brief essay titled ‘Why I Became a Police Officer’
Police said the gun used in Friday’s shooting, a .45-caliber Glock pistol with a high-capacity drum magazine capable of holding up to 40 extra rounds, had been stolen in Baltimore in 2017.
The incident had started out as ‘a normal verbal family dispute with no injuries or anything out of the ordinary’, police sources added.
The drum magazine McNeil had equipped to his Glock allows it to hold an additional 40 rounds to the gun’s ten, giving the shooter a total of 50 rounds to fire.
New York prohibits the use of magazines holding more than 10 rounds. Police said the gun had also been stolen in Baltimore in 2017.
On Sunday, New York Governor Kathy Hochul announced that a multistate task force would meet Wednesday to begin work to stanch the flow of illegal guns, which she and Adams blame for gun-related violence.
‘Too many lives have been lost because of illegal firearms that should never have been on our streets,’ she said.
More than 50 agencies from nine Northeastern states are taking part, she said.
Hochul cited NYPD data tracing nearly 4,500 illegal guns as coming from out of state, most from southern states that generally have laxer gun laws.
Adams, a former NYPD captain, joined the governor in calling on the federal government to do more to round up stolen guns like the one used in Friday’s shooting.
Rivera joined the force in November 2020.
Growing up in Manhattan´s Inwood neighborhood, he noticed tensions with police, according to a brief essay titled ‘Why I Became a Police Officer.’
In that essay, Rivera wrote about how he was bothered by witnessing his brother being stopped and frisked, but his attitudes changed when he also saw how the department was trying to improve relationships with communities.
‘I realized how impactful my role as a police officer would go in this chaotic city,’ he wrote.