By Jessica Easthope
The funeral Mass for Detective First Grade Jason Rivera could be heard for blocks in Midtown Manhattan. Within a week, the city of New York has been shaken by an ambush attack on two young officers. The shockwaves are reverberating around the country and within the NYPD as they lay one of their own, Jason Rivera, to rest.
Jason Rivera’s end of watch put New York City at a standstill.
Hundreds said one last goodbye to the 22-year-old whose smile has been seen around the world. The public got their first glimpse of who Jason Rivera was.
“This kid was just out of this world, my brother was dedication, he was integrity,” said Rivera’s older brother, Jeffrey.
During his eulogy, Jeffrey spoke of how nothing could stand in the way of Jason’s dream of serving and protecting.
“My brother was afraid of heights, he was afraid of rats, he was afraid of dogs but he was not afraid to die or to wear that uniform,” he said.
In death, Rivera reached a milestone – being posthumously promoted to Detective First Grade by Police Commissioner Keechant Sewell.
“Jason rose to every challenge that crossed his path, he was everything this city and the NYPD needed him to be and it is with sincere admiration and appreciation that I promote him today to Detective First Grade,” she said.
Rivera was shot and killed one week ago while responding to a 9-1-1 call. His partner officer Wilbert Mora was also shot and died days later. His wife Dominique Luzuriaga recounted their final moments together and when she got the worst call of her life.
“Seeing you in a hospital bed wrapped up in sheets, not hearing when I was talking to you broke me, I said ‘wake up baby, I’m here,’” she said.
Diocese of Brooklyn’s Bishop Robert Brennan said Rivera has become a symbol of hope for all of New York City and the NYPD.
“He himself, Officer, now Detective Rivera, was a man of great hope and saw his role as giving hope to other people and sadly even in death he shows us the meaning of hope,” said Bishop Brennan.
And Mayor Eric Adams expressed his own hope for the city and putting an end to the violence that took Rivera’s life.
“We will ensure everything in our powers to not lose our family members through this senseless violence,” said Mayor Adams.
A surge of crime in New York City and the deaths of Rivera and Mora has gun violence front and center. Their final salutes are coming far too soon.