What to Know
- Jose Gonzalez, 25, pleaded not guilty Wednesday in the death of EMT Yadira Arroyo
- Arroyo was killed in the Bronx on March 16 when Gonzalez allegedly hijacked her ambulance and ran her over with it, police said
- Fellow EMTs gathered at the courtroom to stare down Gonzalez
The man accused of hijacking an FDNY ambulance and running over an EMT, killing her, pleaded not guilty in a courtroom charged with emotional and angry colleagues of the slain woman.
Jose Gonzalez, 25, appeared in Bronx Supreme Court Wednesday as he pleaded not guilty to murder and other charges in the March 16 death of Yadira Arroyo, a 14-year EMS veteran and mother of five. He stared at the roughly 100 EMTs assembled in the courtroom as he was led out and mumbled something.
"How can this man plead not guilty? The evidence speaks for itself," said EMS union Local 2507 President Israel Miranda, with dozens of EMTs assembled behind him, after the court hearing.
"This man needs to go to jail. This man needs to get life in prison."
Addressing Gonzalez's demeanor, Miranda said "he had a smirk on his face when he turned aorund in the courtroom on his way out and made remarks to the crowd."
Miranda said didn't hear the remarks but said he was certain they were disrespectful.
Gonzalez, who has 31 prior arrests and four prior misdemeanors on his record, is severely mentally ill, his attorney has said. Miranda said that Arroyo -- who happened to live on the same block as her accused killer -- has transported him to the hospital in the past.
"She had contact with this guy before. That's not uncommon. We treat many people over and over again," said Miranda.
"It's disgusting. It's our sister who helped people like that on a daily basis. We're disgusted and we want justice." said Louis Montalvo, an EMT who was a friend of Arroyo.
Gonzalez was remanded back to jail after the plea. He had been recovering at a hospital until Wednesday's court appearance as concerns about his physical and mental health were raised. He's due back in court on Aug. 25.
Prosecutors say Gonzalez was riding on the back of Arroyo's ambulance in the Bronx the evening of March 16, then jumped off and robbed a young man of his backpack. The man, seeking help, flagged down Arroyo's passing ambulance.
Arroyo got out and briefly spoke with Gonzalez, who then jumped into the driver's seat of the ambulance and put the vehicle in reverse, hitting Arroyo. He accelerated forward, again hitting her, causing her death, prosecutors say.
Toxicology tests for Gonzalez were positive for PCP and marijuana.