HARLEM, Manhattan (PIX11) — Two NYPD officers were shot, one fatally, in an ambush in Harlem Friday evening, police said.
The second officer was taken to the hospital in extremely critical condition. Police Commissioner Keechant Sewell expressed outrage and sorrow at the loss of the rookie cop.
“Tonight, a 22-year-old son, husband, officer, and friend was killed because he did what he asked him to do,” Sewell said Friday night from Harlem Hospital. “I am not sure what words, if any, will carry the weight of this moment and what we are feeling.”
Sources told PIX11 News that the officers were responding to a domestic incident between a mother and son. Two law enforcement sources told PIX11 News the suspect’s mother is a retired NYC Correction Department Captain.
Sewell said the suspect “unexpectedly” opened fire after officers “compassionately tried to help him” during the incident. Police said officers originally arrived on the scene at about 6:15 p.m., responding to a 911 call that was placed by a woman who said she was fighting with her son. She did not tell the police about any weapons at the home.
When officers arrived at the 135th Street apartment, they were met by the woman and another one of her sons. The suspect, 47-year-old Lawshawn McNeil, was in the apartment’s back bedroom, which was at the end of a narrow hallway, police said.
Two of the responding officers made their way down the hallway while another officer stayed behind with the family. As the two officers walked down the hallway, McNeil swung open a door and started firing, police said. When McNeil tried to flee, he was shot in the head and arm by the third responding officer, according to the NYPD.
Police said McNeil had previous arrests both in and outside of New York City. The weapon he used was a handgun that was stolen in Baltimore in 2017; the weapon was outfitted with a high-capacity magazine, according to authorities.
Mayor Eric Adams joined Commissioner Sewell at Harlem Hospital Friday night. He denounced the spate of violence against the NYPD and called on the federal government to do more to stop the flow of illegal guns into New York City.
“This was just not an attack on three brave officers,” Adams said, “this was an attack on the city of New York.”
Gov. Kathy Hochul expressed her sympathy on Twitter, saying her heart was “with Harlem.”
“My team is ready to support [Eric Adams] in any way necessary,” Hochul said.
“All of New York state is in mourning tonight,” New York Attorney General Letitia James said in a statement. “As we await the facts, my office may assert jurisdiction in this matter. We pray for the safety of our police and our communities.”
Since Jan. 1, a total of five police officers have been shot. The first was sleeping in a car on New Year’s Day. The next four were all shot this week.
“Our hearts are broken,” Police Benevolent Association President Patrick Lynch said. “We’re in shock. And we’re angry, because we’ve been here before. We’re angry because we saw it coming.”
PIX11 News reporters Mary Murphy and Nicole Johnson also contributed to this report.