Jan. 26, 2022 By Michael Dorgan
A Queens lawmaker is hosting a candle-light vigil in Ozone Park Sunday for the two young police officers who were killed in Manhattan last week while responding to a domestic disturbance.
Council Member Joann Ariola is hosting the vigil at 5:30 p.m. at Police Officer Nicholas Demutiis Park, located on Liberty Ave. between 101st and 102nd Street.
The vigil will remember Police Officers Jason Rivera, 22, and Wilbert Mora, 27, who were gunned down inside a Harlem apartment Friday. They were shot by Lashawn McNeil, 47 — a career criminal whose mother had called police for help after arguing with her son. McNeil was fatally shot during the incident.
Ariola said she is hosting the vigil to honor the slain officers and to try to bring healing to residents mourning the loss of their young lives.
“It really shocked the community… because each and every time we lose a police officer we feel less safe living in a city that we love so much,” Ariola said.
“And I think the families of Officers Rivera and Mora need to know that their family member did not die in vain and are not forgotten.”
Ariola said that leaders from different religious groups are expected to attend the vigil and prayers will be said for the fallen cops.
The District 32 representative said that invites have been sent out to other elected officials representing areas that overlap with her district and to lawmakers from neighboring communities. District 32 covers Woodhaven, Richmond Hill, Ozone Park, Howard Beach, Broad Channel, and the western half of the Rockaway Peninsula.
Ariola said that other fallen police officers will also be remembered at the vigil, such as Police Officer Nicholas Demutiis – whom the park is named after. He was killed in January 1994 when a suspect was trying to flee police and rammed his vehicle into Demutiis’ car.
She said it was important for the community to come together and show their appreciation for the police.
“We are hoping that it is largely attended because our police force needs to know that there are people who support them and people who pray for their safety every day,” Ariola said.
Please join us for a candlelight vigil for Police Officer Jason Rivera and Police Officer Wilbert Mora and the entire NYPD on Sunday evening at 5:30pm at PO Nicholas Demutiis Park next to the 106th Precinct. pic.twitter.com/I2ePXy6bYW
— Joann Ariola (@JoannAriola32) January 26, 2022