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Detective Sumit Sulan (New York City Police Department, New York)

May 17, 2023, Medal of Valor Ceremony Recipient
Description

On the evening of January 21, 2022, New York City police officers assigned to the Harlem neighborhood of Manhattan were dispatched to a 911 call for a domestic dispute between the caller and her 47-year-old son. The radio dispatcher advised the responding officers that the caller indicated her son was threatening her with physical violence, though no indication was given concerning the presence of weapons.

Officers Jason Rivera, Wilbert Mora, and Sumit Sulan (Officer Sulan for his heroic actions that evening was subsequently promoted to detective). Upon their arrival to the location of the dispute-a six-story residential building-the responding officers began speaking with the caller to ascertain the circumstances. The caller advised that she had been involved in a verbal altercation with her son, who was in the rear bedroom of the apartment. Officer Sulan remained in the front area of the apartment with the caller and her other son who was seated on the couch. At this time, Officers Rivera and Mora proceeded down a narrow hallway in the direction of the bedroom, calling for the son to exit and speak with them regarding the dispute with his mother.

Almost immediately, the perpetrator emerged from the bedroom holding a firearm, which he discharged repeatedly in the direction of Officers Rivera and Mora. Officer Rivera was struck multiple times and immediately collapsed. Officer Mora quickly attempted to return to the living room and seek cover while simultaneously unholstering and discharging his firearm. Officer Mora was able to discharge one single round prior to being struck by the perpetrator, who was still firing his weapon. Officer Mora then collapsed and fell to the ground.

Detective Sulan immediately took cover in the apartment's kitchen, in a position parallel to the hallway where the gunfire was taking place, and shielded the mother and son from harm. As the perpetrator approached the end of the hallway shouting expletives and taunting the officers, Officer Sulan discharged his service weapon, striking the perpetrator, who then collapsed. Officer Sulan held his poise and advised the radio dispatcher of what had transpired and help quickly arrived.

Officer Rivera was removed to nearby Harlem Hospital, where it was determined he was struck six times, including four times in the head. He arrived at the hospital with no pulse and was pronounced dead on arrival. Police Officer Mora was removed to Harlem Hospital, where it was determined that he was struck four times, including twice in the head. Initially in critical condition, he succumbed to his injuries and was pronounced dead on January 25, 2022. The perpetrator was removed to Harlem Hospital and remained in critical condition until he succumbed to his injuries.

From the start of gunfire to the moment when Officer Sulan eliminated the threat, only 45 seconds had elapsed. Officer Sulan quickly assessed what was occurring, and despite witnessing his fellow officers being shot and lying in grave condition on the ground, he maintained composure and was able to return fire, preventing further bloodshed to police officers or civilians.

Following the incident, the perpetrator's mother indicated to investigators that she believed Officer Sulan saved her and her son's life by shielding them from the gunfire.

Officer Sulan distinguished himself by performing an act of gallantry and valor in response to an imminent personal hazard to life with knowledge of the risk, above and beyond the call of duty.

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Date Created: November 15, 2023