Slain EMT's Colleagues Pack Courthouse During Hearing for Suspect in Ambulance Hijacking, Death

What to Know

  • Jose Gonzalez, 25, allegedly hijacked the ambulance when Yadira Arroyo and her partner pulled over in the Bronx to help someone Thursday
  • Cell video shows Gonzalez running over Arroyo after hopping into the driver's seat of her ambulance, police say
  • Arroyo was honored by family, friends, colleagues and the FDNY at her stationhouse in the Bronx Friday and at a vigil Sunday

The Bronx Criminal Courthouse was packed with mourning members of the FDNY as a man accused of running over and killing an emergency medical technician in a stolen ambulance last week was scheduled to face a judge Wednesday. 

Jose Gonzalez, 25, is accused of murdering Yadira Arroyo, a mother of five and a 14-year veteran of the FDNY EMS. His attorney, Alice Fontier of Bronx Defenders, said Gonzalez was waiving his appearance and later told News 4 that he is recovering in the hospital. 

The Bronx resident is said to be in poor condition as concerns about his mental and physical health were raised. The judge presiding over his case ordered that he undergo medical treatment.

He had visible injuries on his face when he was led from a police station after his arrest last week. His attorney has said he was arrested "in a very rough manner," and had severe bruising and a dislocated jaw. 

Gonzalez is charged with two counts of first-degree murder, two counts of second-degree murder, first-degree manslaughter and first-degree robbery, authorities said. He has four prior misdemeanors but has been arrested 32 times, according to Fontier. 

Gonzalez's next court date is April 5. 

Family members and colleagues still reeling over Arroyo's death lined the hallway in a show of force. 

"Our motto is 'do no harm', so for someone to harm us, it's upsetting," said Anthony Sanchez of Paramedic Station 27. "It's also very sad that we have to worry about getting hurt in the line of duty."

EMS union Local 2507 President Israel Miranda said he'll be present at every court appearance.

"We will be pursuing justice and we will not accept anything but justice," he said. "We are the hands that help New York City."

"We are angry. We are sad some of us are still in shock," said FDNY EMS Lt. Jessica Duffy, who worked with Arroyo. "The system failed Yadi, not him."

A moment of silence was held out of respect for Arroyo's partner, Monique Williams, who remained silent as she walked into the courtroom to a round of applause with her head down, covered by an FDNY hat. She sat in the front row, too overcome with emotion to speak.

In chilling cellphone video from the aftermath of the crash, Williams could be heard wailing, "My partner, my partner!"  

"She literally died trying to save her partner's life," said Louis Montalvo of EMT Station 14. "This is going to be on Monique's mind forever. This happened right in front of her."

Also in the crowd was Robert Soto, an EMT who tried to save Yadira. The pain of losing her lingered in his eyes as he looked on.

"It doesn't feel real," he said. "It's a very difficult time for us. We just want justice served."

On the evening of March 16, Arroyo was driving an ambulance when she and her partner were alerted that someone was riding on the back of their bumper, police said.

Arroyo pulled over, got out of the vehicle and that’s when Gonzalez walked around the side of the ambulance, jumped in the driver’s seat, put the vehicle in reverse and ran over Arroyo, according to authorities.

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