By MICHAEL R. SISAK and JENNIFER PELTZ
NEW YORK (AP) — A New York Police Department officer was killed and another critically wounded 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 a Harlem apartment, police said.
Police Commissioner Keechant Sewell denounced the death of the 22-year-old officer, while Mayor Eric Adams spoke in sweeping terms about the need to crack down on illegal guns.
“Countless officers lined this hallway after carrying him in and grieve for their brother while praying with everything they have for the other” officer, Sewell said. “I am struggling to find the words to express the tragedy we are enduring. We’re mourning, and we’re angry.”
Authorities said the officers, along with a third officer, went to the apartment on 135th Street after a call came in from a woman needing help with her son, identified by police as Lashawn J. McNeil, 47.
Authorities said the officers spoke with the woman and another son, but there was no mention of a weapon. Then two of them walked from the front of the apartment down a narrow hallway.
NYPD Chief of Detectives James Essig said McNeil swung open a bedroom door and opened fire at the officers, striking them.
As McNeil tried to flee, a third officer who’d stayed with McNeil’s mother in the front of the apartment shot at McNeil and wounded him in the head and arm, Essig said.
A law enforcement official who spoke to The Associated Press on the condition of anonymity because they weren’t authorized to respond publicly had said the man died, but authorities did not speak about his condition at the press conference, or take any 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 screaming for assistance and another officer informing the dispatcher that two officers had been shot.
One officer asks for “three buses” or ambulances to the scene, a six-story apartment building, and police to block off 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 wounded in the leg Tuesday night in the Bronx during a struggle with a teenager who also shot himself. On Thursday, a narcotics detective was shot in the leg on Staten Island.
Before Friday, the last NYPD officer killed in the line of duty was Anastasios Tsakos, who was struck by a suspected drunken driver in May 2021 while assisting officers at the scene of an earlier crash on a Queens highway.
The last NYPD officer fatally shot in the line of duty, Brian Mulkeen, was hit by friendly fire while struggling with an armed man after chasing and shooting at 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 as she wrote in a notebook in a mobile command post. In 2016, Sgt. Paul Tuozzolo was killed in a gunfight with a man who’d broken into his estranged 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 he was shot by a man in Queens.
The year before, Officers Wenjian Liu and Rafael Ramos were fatally shot by a man who ambushed them as they sat in their patrol car in Brooklyn.
Associated Press writer Deepti Hajela in Essex County, New Jersey, contributed to this report.
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