NEW YORK - While visiting New York to talk about the scourge of gun violence, President Joe Biden took a moment at NYPD headquarters to praise a young police officer's heroism in stopping a cop killer.
Biden paid tribute to two officers whom that killer had fatally shot — Jason Rivera and Wilbert Mora — when they responded to a 911 call in Harlem on Jan. 21.
"Detectives Wilbert Mora and Jason Rivera are the who and what law enforcement ought to be," Biden said on Thursday during his roundtable at One Police Plaza in Lower Manhattan. "Their futures were cut short by a man with a stolen Glock and a 40-round magazine and I want to thank the man back to my left, I think he's sitting right there, for taking him on."
The president gestured to a stage behind him where a number of police officials sat.
"Stand up," said Biden, who then led an ovation for Police Officer Sumit Sulan.
Sulan stood silently with his hands clasped in front of him as everyone in the auditorium applauded.
Sulan, a 27-year-old rookie, had accompanied Rivera and Mora to a Harlem apartment where a woman said her adult son had become "problematic." As Rivera and Mora walked from the front of the apartment down a narrow hallway to check on the man, he swung open a bedroom door and gunned them down using a Glock semi-automatic handgun equipped with an illegal drum magazine capable of holding 40 rounds, police said.
Moments later, the gunman — later identified as Lashawn McNeil — tried to run away, police said. Sulan, who had remained with McNeil's mother in the front of the apartment, shot the gunman in the head and arm, police said. McNeil died three days later.
Mayor Eric Adams has called Sulan a hero who potentially saved lives by stopping McNeil from escaping.
"While discussing the vital work of eliminating gun violence during his visit to NYPD HQ, @POTUS gave a standing ovation to @NYPD32Pct Officer Sulan for his role in preventing further harm and irreparable trauma on the night Detectives Rivera and Mora were murdered. Thank you," First Deputy Commissioner Edward Caban tweeted on Thursday.