NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — NYPD Officer Wilbert Mora remained in grave condition Monday after he and his partner were shot late last week while responding to a call for help in Harlem.
Mora, 27, was moved from Harlem Hospital to NYU Langone Medical Center on Sunday. He was shot in the head Friday and underwent two surgeries.
Mora is fighting for his life inside the hospital, but there’s no building big enough to house the outpouring of hope New Yorkers have for his recovery.
“I hope he pulls through, because this is just terrible to start the new year. I’m thinking of his family and I’m thinking about what they’ve been going through,” Pamela Cooper said.
“Who are we as New York City if we don’t care about the people that serve us, that protect us, that give their lives for us every, single day,” Shayna Smith added.
Blue and white candles and flowers crowded the entrance to the East 112th Street apartment building where Mora lives with his family.
In a letter, Manhattan Borough President Mark Levine wrote, “I am praying that they find strength and solace amidst the shattering pain.”
Fellow officers, neighbors and friends continued to come by the apartment building Monday to show support.
That day, Mora was training Sumit Sulan, a rookie officer who ultimately shot the suspect.
Those who know Mora said he is a man of great stature, physically and emotionally.
“He’s been a very close friend of my son Rashad,” Mohammed Mujumder told CBS2’s Lisa Rozner. “This person is the only breadwinner in his family… His father is very, very sick and this guy, Wilbert, is a very bright young man.”
Mujumder said his son and Mora have been close friends since they were freshmen at the High School of Graphic Communication Arts in Hell’s Kitchen.
Mora joined the NYPD in 2018, the same year he graduated from CUNY John Jay College of Criminal Justice with a bachelor’s degree.
“Wilbert was actively participating and made rich input in class discussions. He even wrote his final research paper examining the effectiveness of proactive and reactive policing in reducing crime, discussing the effects of Stop & Frisk, and community policing in New York City. I recall discussing his paper with him, and I found him to be very knowledgeable about history of policing and police reforms,” Irina Zakirova, Mora’s former professor, said in a statement to CBS2.
“He did just absolutely straight A’s with 100% completed work at the same time he was in the Police Academy,” John Jay professor Serguei Cheloukhine added. “Officer Mora was a great student at the time and as I see now, he is a great police officer.”
Mora had also recently started taking classes to become a sergeant, CBS2’s Thalia Perez reported.
Family friend Santo Guerrero told CBS2 he’s known Mora most of his life. He described him as “very humble, loved by the whole world over here.”
He added, “This kid is like a son to me, and his dad is like a brother to me. I’m in pain, I’m hurting.”
Guerrero said Mora is the youngest sibling, and the family is from the Dominican Republic.
“Very sweet, always said hello, always held the door,” another neighbor said.
“Really, really nice neighbor,” another added.
An online fundraiser has grown well past $250,000. The money will be split between the families of Mora and Rivera.
Congressman Adriano Espaillat said both families, like so many, came to the U.S. for a better life
“This is a trauma, traumatic time for the Dominican community and the Latino community citywide, to see two officers go down like that,” Espaillat said.
Monday evening, a candlelight vigil was held in Mora’s honor outside the 32nd Precinct.
McNeil died at Harlem Hospital on Monday afternoon, according to police sources.
CBS2’s John Dias contributed to this report.
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