Fellow officers who worked with slain NYPD cops Wilbert Mora and Jason Rivera were overcome with grief as they remembered their Brothers in Blue at a Wednesday night vigil outside the 32nd Precinct.
Hundreds of mourners, including New York’s Finest, members of the FDNY and people from the community, attended the emotional event at the Harlem stationhouse where Mora, 27, and Rivera, 22, served as police officers.
“His smile lit up a room,” Officer Sterling Medina said to the crowd, referring to Mora, his close pal.
“His smile, his laugh changed everyone’s mood,” added Medina before breaking down in tears. “To know that we’re not gonna get that again, it hurts.”
Officer Charlie Ruiz-Reyes, another friend of Mora, also choked up and expressed regret for not being with the two cops when they were ambushed by career criminal Lawshawn McNeil during a domestic disturbance call Friday night.
A female officer who worked with the duo said the department needs continuous community support, not just during times of tragedy.
“Jason was my brother. I just can’t believe that God called him that day,” she said. “Mora … he saved my life so many times but I couldn’t save his.”
“I just hope and wish that it doesn’t take two lives to be taken for people to grieve with us, for people to support us and for people to be here for us,” the officer said.
Meanwhile, around the time the vigil began at 6:30 p.m., four NYPD patrol cars, an auxiliary van and a police vehicle from Darien, Ct., were discovered with slashed tires near the 32nd Precinct, sources said.
Additional reporting by Larry Celona and Joe Marino