A city’s loss, a family’s pain: New York mourns slain Police Officer Wilbert Mora at heartbreaking St. Patrick’s Cathedral funeral

Police Officer Wilbert Mora was laid to rest after a heartbreaking St. Patrick’s Cathedral funeral on Wednesday morning.

The second officer killed in the infamous Harlem domestic dispute shootout on Jan. 21 was mourned by family, politicians, and thousands of extended brothers and sisters in blue during the Feb. 2 funeral. A son of Dominican immigrants, the 27-year-old Mora was honored not merely for how he died, but also for a life spent serving his community.

Even after he drew his last breath, Mora provided one last service to the city he died to protect — saving five individuals he never even knew, thanks to his organ donation.

Mora was remembered as a friendly giant who grew up yearning to protect the city from crime. He was likewise called a warrior for attempting to fight back, even in the face of certain death. But far more than his life in law enforcement, his humanity was also fondly recalled.

His brother, Wilson Mora, nicknamed Wilbert a teddy bear who loved nothing more than to hang out with his friends and play video games.

Officer Mora’s casket emerges from St. Patrick’s Cathedral. Photo by Dean Moses
Wilbert Mora’s casket is carried down the steps of the cathedral. Photo by Lloyd Mitchell
Police officer Wilbert Mora is given one final salute as he shouldered to his final resting place. Photo by Dean Moses
With hands on their hearts and raised salutes, grief gripped attendees as the coffin passed. Photo by Dean Moses

“Everyone says you’re a big teddy bear of a man. You were like that even when you were little, mom showered us with love, and you absorbed it like a sponge. So as an adult, I saw your love for your friends and for people come out in ways that others can’t. You were impossibly patient with me even when I was at my worst,” Wilson Mora said. “I just want you to know that I was always proud of you. You chose a life of service to your community and to our adopted country.”

A rippling sea of NYPD officers could be observed stretching down Fifth Avenue as thousands gathered to pay their respects for the second time in less than a week, after Mora’s partner, Police Officer Jason Rivera, was mourned on Jan. 28.

In honor of Mora’s dedication and sacrifice, Police Commissioner Keechant Sewell posthumously promoted both Rivera and Mora to detective first grade.

Sewell described Mora as a colossal force, not due to his 6’3 stature but, instead, the enormity of his love, kindness, and willingness to always help others. Immigrating with his family from the Dominican Republic in search of a better, safer life, Mora immediately gravitated toward the law enforcement. He was a proud member of the NYPD Cadet Corps and attended John Jay College of Criminal Justice—each step propelling him to fight for social justice while also protecting the adoptive city he loved.

Balloons bob above an ocean of officers. Photo by Lloyd Mitchell
Thousands of police officers lined the streets. Photo by Dean Moses
A prayer card inside an officer’s hat. Photo by Lloyd Mitchell
Many officers felt the grief of losing a brother in blue. Photo by Lloyd Mitchell

“With his combination of strength and compassion. Wilbert served this department bravely, honorably as a colossal symbol of promise, not for the size of his frame, but for the goodness in his heart. He was a true leader,” Sewell said.

Mora’s sister, Karina Mora, shared her heartbreak in Spanish, distraught that she will never be able to see her brother again or hear him say her name. She knew that working for the NYPD was his pride and joy, and that his dream was to fight for social justice, but as she sees him in the coffin in his uniform, she can’t find the words to say goodbye.

Karina Mora denounced the violence on the city streets and the way in which officers and their families bear the brunt of the devastation. She asked how many more officers would lose their lives to criminal violence before the system changes, and how many families must undergo the trauma of losing a loved one.

An NYPD officer becomes emotional as Wilbert Mora’s coffin is carried out of the cathedral. Photo by Dean Moses
NYC Council Speaker Adrienne Adams embraces an officer. Photo by Dean Moses
Officers burst into tears as Mora is laid to rest. Photo by Lloyd Mitchell

Adams also touched on the prevalence of gun violence in New York City, and vowed to provide the resources and tools necessary to help members of the NYPD combat it. He acknowledged that just last night another officer was shot, a sobering reminder of the danger the police face every day whether on or off duty.

“Last night, we were reminded again about the danger and over proliferation of guns that are carving highways of death. Even when the bullet hits the body of our citizens, the emotional trauma continues to rip the anatomy of our city and the pathway never ends for generations to come. An off-duty officer was shot and wounded on his way to work. The work of protecting New Yorkers, defending our city, the work Office Mora was doing when he was killed in the line of duty,” Adams said.

“We will rise New York City because we are a city of people, of people like Officer Rivera and Officer Mora we will never forget their names and their acts of heroism,” the mayor added.

Wilbert Mora’s mother breaks down and clutches her skull as anguish consumes her on Feb. 2. Photo by Dean Moses
The NYPD offers thousands of salutes as Mora’s remains are removed from the service. Photo by Lloyd Mitchell
Officers salute as they say goodbye to officer Mora. Photo by Lloyd Mitchell
Officers hold hands, lending their support to one another. Photo by Lloyd Mitchell
Officers salute as they say goodbye to Officer Mora. Photo by Dean Moses

The love for the young officer was exemplified by his mother, who broke down in an uncontrollable torrent of despair. Sobbing, she clutched her skull as her son’s remains were wheeled away.

Mora’s sacrifice has reverberated around the city, and hundreds of New Yorkers showed their support outside of St. Patrick’s Cathedral by paying their respects and holding signs thanking him for his service.

An onlooker clutches a photograph of Mora as he watches the hearse pass. Photo by Dean Moses
Grief gripped citizens of the Big Apple, along with the police department. Photo by Dean Moses
New Yorkers joined the NYPD in mourning for both of the lost officers. Photo by Lloyd Mitchell