Harlem gunman who shot 2 NYPD cops dies at hospital

David Dee Delgado/Getty Images North America/TNS
·5 min read

NEW YORK — The 47-year-old ex-con who ambushed two NYPD officers in his mother’s Harlem apartment, killing one and gravely wounding the other before a third cop shot him, died Monday afternoon, a police official confirmed.

Lashawn McNeil died at Harlem Hospital at 1:38 p.m.

He was shot Friday night in the head and right arm by rookie Officer Sumit Sulan moments after McNeil shot Officers Jason Rivera and Wilbert Mora.

Rivera, a 22-year-old newlywed, died that night. Mora, 27, was gravely wounded and put on a respirator. He is in extremely critical condition at NYU Langone Medical Center.

“He’s still in the hospital,” Wilson Mora said of his brother on Monday. “That’s all I can say.”

Mora’s father, meanwhile, prayed at the makeshift memorial outside the East Harlem building where the officer lives with his parents.

“(He) can’t hold the pain,” said the building super.

“Beautiful boy, very educated, good person,” a neighbor, Mirta Mangual, said of Mora. “Nobody knew he was a police officer, but I knew because his father told me. The more private you are the better it is.

“Especially in these days with what’s going on with police officers.”

McNeil had come from Maryland in November to visit his ailing mother, Shirley Sourzes, who had recently undergone heart surgery, and his 45-year-old brother, who has lymphoma, police sources said. At the time, McNeil had an open arrest warrant for absconding probation in 2005 in a Queens drug possession case, records show.

But McNeil argued with his mother from the moment he arrived, she later told police. He ranted about anti-government podcasts he listened to, his hatred of police officers and even his vegan diet, police sources said.

At 6:15 p.m. Friday, Sourzes called 911, complaining to a dispatcher that she and McNeil were fighting. She made no mention of him being armed, but said he had threatened to physically hurt her, the police official said.

Mora, Rivera and Sulan, uniformed officers working the 4 p.m.-to-midnight shift in the 32nd Precinct, drove to the mother’s West 135th Street apartment, less than a block from Harlem Hospital.

The response might have ended without an arrest if all went smoothly, but when McNeil ignored his mother’s call to come out front so police could talk to him, tensions escalated. Sulan stayed behind with Sourzes and McNeil’s brother while Rivera and Mora headed down the narrow 30-foot-long hallway toward the bedroom.

That’s when “the door swings open and numerous shots were fired, striking both officers,” Chief of Detectives James Essig said.

McNeil, armed with a Glock 45 handgun equipped with a drum magazine that can hold 40 rounds, shot Rivera first, police said.

Rivera fell backward. The slain cop’s body-worn camera, pointing to the ceiling, captured McNeil stepping over him and firing at Mora.

Mora returned fire once during the ambush but missed, a police source said.

Sulan — a rookie who was riding with the officers as part of his training — also returned fire, hitting McNeil in the right arm and head, said a police source who viewed the video.

Responding officers carried their wounded brothers out of the building and rushed them to the hospital, where Mayor Eric Adams later said it is “our city against the killers.” Police Commissioner Keechant Sewell said she was “struggling to find the words to express the tragedy we are enduring.”

“We’re mourning and we’re angry,” she said.

The Glock was stolen Nov. 20, 2017, from the home of a 44-year-old security guard in Baltimore. The guard told police at the time that she had returned home to find a safe where she stored the Glock empty. The key for the safe was also missing, a police official said. The security guard told cops she suspected her son had stolen the gun, but no arrest was made. It is not yet clear how the weapon wound up in McNeil’s hands or if it was used in other shootings.

A subsequent search of the bedroom where McNeil opened fire found a second gun — an American Tactical AR-15 assault-style rifle— under a mattress. There was one bullet in the chamber and 19 in the magazine. The gun was purchased in Michigan, sources said, adding they did not yet know when the gun was bought or if it was stolen.

Sourzes, sources said, told police she had warned her son in the past about bringing weapons into her home.

Police are poring over McNeil’s cellphone records, computer search history and emails for any clues that might explain why he shot the cops, the official said.

The gunman’s criminal record dates back to a March 1998 gun possession arrest in South Carolina, Essig said. The case was dismissed in 2002, records show.

Also in 2002, he was busted for assaulting a cop in Pennsylvania, Essig said.

The next year he was convicted of drug possession following an arrest in Far Rockaway, Queens, and sentenced to five years' probation. He absconded in 2005, probation officials said, and the court issued a warrant for his arrest — which was still active when he shot the two officers.

Even if he was arrested on that warrant, he likely would have only served up to a year behind bars, law enforcement sources said.

Also in 2003, he pleaded guilty to possession of drugs with intent to deliver in Pennsylvania. He served roughly one year behind bars and was released in 2004, authorities in Lehigh County confirmed.

It wasn’t yet clear if McNeil had mental health issues, but sources said the mother told police she believed his rantings were proof he was ill.