In the Line of Duty: Indian American NYPD Officer Honored With Medal of Valor at White House Ceremony
- Sumit Sulan, a rookie cop at the time, sprang to action when two of his partners got shot in the line of duty in January last year.
Indian American NYPD cop Sumit Sulan was honored by President Joe Biden with the Medal of Valor, the country’s highest award for public safety officers. He was among nine officers who were recognized at the May 17 White House ceremony for “actions above and beyond the call of duty and exhibiting exceptional courage, extraordinary decisiveness, presence of mind, and unusual swiftness in action, regardless of his or her personal safety, in an attempt to save or protect a human life.”
Just nine months after Sulan joined the NYPD, the “super rookie cop” sprang to action when two of his partners got shot in the line of duty on Jan. 21, 2022. The then 27-year-old shot and wounded Lawshawn McNeil, 47, the Harlem, New York man who killed 22-year-old rookie cop Jason Rivera and seriously injured 27-year-old his partner Wilbert Mora, who died four days later. McNeil died at Harlem Hospital on Jan. 24 afternoon.
Sulan, Rivera and Mora were dispatched to McNeil’s residence in Harlem after receiving a report of domestic violence. The New York Daily News reported that McNeil was arguing with his mom about the lack of vegan food available in the apartment. During the deadly shootout that ensued, McNeil shot two officers who entered the home with his illegal Glock 45.
Sulan was on the job since April and at Harlem’s 32nd Precinct for two months. A month later, on Feb. 15, 2022, He was promoted to the rank of detective.
“Detective Sulan had only been then — with the precinct — the 32nd Precinct, for two months… He shielded the mother and brother from gunfire, then drew his weapon to fire twice, hitting the gunman and ending the incident,” Biden was quoted as saying in a White House press release. “The entire nation is grateful for the quick thinking, swift action, and courage under fire that he demonstrated.”
The Indo-Asian News Service reported that Sulan’s family had immigrated from India about 15 years ago. Before joining the NYPD, Sulan worked for the city as a taxi and limousine inspector, the IANS report said.