Slain New York City police Officer Wilbert Mora died as the result of an ambush shooting in Harlem last week. But because he was an organ donor, Mora has been able to save at least five lives after his death, according to the CEO of New York City’s organ donation and transplant network.
Mora succumbed to his injuries days after he and another officer faced a barrage of bullets while responding to a domestic violence incident.
The 27-year-old Mora’s donated heart, kidneys, pancreas and liver later went to three recipients in his home state of New York and two more elsewhere in the country, said Leonard Achan, CEO of Live On NY, which helped facilitate Mora’s lifesaving last wish.
"Somebody did receive this hero's heart," Achan told Fox News Digital on Wednesday. "Officer Mora and his family are huge, huge supporters of organ donation, and this was important to them and they wanted to make sure that he lived on. They wanted to make sure that they knew that he was a hero in life -- and that he'd be one in his unfortunate and tragic death."
While he declined to go into specifics about the recipients, citing the patients’ right to privacy, he said each of the recipients would have a new lease on life because of Mora, the NYPD, paramedics, hospital workers and others involved.
Race to save a life
When an organ donor dies, it’s a race to procure lifesaving body parts for potential recipients. They need to be kept on a mechanical respirator, and the organs need to be intact after whatever trauma killed the donor.
In a perfect scenario, a single donor can supply organs to eight people, Achan said.
"And with tissue donation, you can change the lives of up to 50 people," he said.
That would include skin, heart valves, corneal transplants and musculoskeletal tissue, he said.
Mora and rookie NYPD Officer Justin Rivera, 22, were gunned down in a Harlem apartment Friday while responding to a domestic violence call involving a mother and her adult son.
The son, identified as Lashawn McNeil, 47, burst out of a back bedroom with a .45-caliber Glock and drum magazine, unloading on the unsuspecting officers. A third officer, Sumit Sulan, was in a different room at the time and returned fire, stopping the rampage and critically wounding the suspect.
McNeil later died from his wounds.
Memorial services will be held for the fallen officers over the next few days, beginning with a wake for Rivera on Thursday and his funeral Friday. Mora will be laid to rest next week.
Once Mora’s family recognized that their loved one would not survive, they agreed to have him transferred from Harlem Hospital to New York University’s Langone Medical Center, one of Live On NY’s 11 transplant facilities.
"Working with Harlem Hospital, NYU Langone Health, the NYPD and mayor's office to make this happen was really important to the family and their wishes," Achan said. "This is all about their wishes being honored -- and it's about the ability that they created to save lives."