By MICHAEL R. SISAK and JENNIFER PELTZ
NEW YORK (AP) — A New York Police Department officer was killed and another seriously injured Friday night while responding to a call from a woman about her son, who “suddenly, without warning” shot at them from the back room of an apartment in Harlem. police said.
Police Commissioner Keechant Sewell denounced the 22-year-old officer’s death, while Mayor Eric Adams spoke in forceful terms about the need to crack down on illegal guns.
“Countless officers lined this hallway after carrying him and crying for his brother while praying with everything they had for each other,” Sewell said. “I am struggling to find the words to express the tragedy we are experiencing. We are in mourning and we are angry.”
Authorities said officers, along with a third officer, went to the 135th Street apartment after receiving a call from a woman who needed help with her child, identified by police as 47-year-old Lashawn J. McNeil.
Authorities said officers spoke to the woman and another child, but no mention of a weapon was made. Two of them then walked from the front of the apartment down a narrow hallway.
NYPD Detective Chief James Essig said McNeil opened a bedroom door and opened fire on the officers, hitting them.
As McNeil tried to flee, a third officer who had stayed with McNeil’s mother in the front of the apartment shot him, striking him in the head and arm, Essig said.
A law enforcement official who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to respond publicly said the man died, but authorities did not discuss his condition at the news conference or answer questions.
McNeil’s last known address is in Allentown, Pennsylvania, about 90 miles (145 kilometers) west of New York City.
Police dispatch audio captured some of the chaotic scene, including an officer yelling for help and another officer informing the dispatcher that two officers had been shot.
An officer calls for “three buses” or ambulances to the scene, a six-story apartment building and police officers to block traffic on the route to nearby Harlem Hospital. The building is on a block between two iconic Harlem avenues: Malcolm X Boulevard and Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Boulevard.
An officer was injured in the leg Tuesday night in the Bronx during a fight with a teenager who also shot himself. On Thursday, a narcotics detective was shot in the leg on Staten Island.
Prior to Friday, the last NYPD officer to die in the line of duty was Anastasios Tsakos, who was struck by a suspected drunk driver in May 2021 while assisting officers at the scene of an earlier accident at a queens road.
The last NYPD officer to be fatally shot in the line of duty, Brian Mulkeen, was hit by friendly fire while struggling with a gunman after chasing and shooting him in the Bronx in September 2019.
Mulkeen’s death came about seven months after Det. Brian Simonsen was killed by friendly fire while he and other officers were confronting a robbery suspect at a cell phone store in Queens.
In 2017, officer Miosotis Familia was ambushed by a gunman while writing in a notebook at a mobile command post. In 2016, Sgt. Paul Tuozzolo was killed in a shootout with a man who broke into his ex-wife’s home.
In 2015, Officer Randolph Holder was shot and killed by a man riding a stolen bicycle in Manhattan and Officer Brian Moore died after being shot by a man in Queens.
The year before, officers Wenjian Liu and Rafael Ramos were shot and killed by a man who ambushed them while they were sitting in their patrol car in Brooklyn.
Associated Press writer Deepti Hajela in Essex County, New Jersey, contributed to this report.
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism