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NYPD officer killed by a criminal with 21 prior arrests during a routine traffic stop

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Thomas Tracy, Kerry Burke, Rocco Parascandola and Elizabeth Keogh
New York Daily News
(TNS)

NEW YORK — An NYPD officer was fatally shot during a Monday car stop in Queens, Mayor Adams said, calling the incident “a senseless act of violence.”

“We lost one of our sons today and it is extremely painful,” Adams said at a press conference. “It’s extremely painful.”

Uniformed officer Jonathan Diller and his partner pulled Lindy Jones, 41, and Guy Rivera, 34, over near the corner of Mott Avenue and Smith Place in Far Rockaway just before 5:50 p.m., cops and sources said.

The men were in a gray Kia SUV and were illegally parked in a bus stop, according to police.

“(Rivera) was asked to leave the car,” NYPD Chief of Detectives Joseph Kenny said at the news conference. “He was given a lawful order numerous times to step out of the car and he refused. Instead of stepping out of the car, he shot our officer.”

Diller, 31, was shot in the torso underneath his bullet resistant vest, but “still stayed in the fight,” Kenny said.

Officer Jonathan Diller, 31, of New York’s 105th precinct was just three years into working for the NYPD.

“(Diller) was trying to unarm the person that had just shot him as (Diller) was on the floor,” Kenny said. “The gun hit the ground and as the perpetrator was still reaching for it, this cop was able to grab it, although he was still shot.”

Diller’s partner shot Rivera once in the back, police and sources said.

Witnesses heard several shots amid the chaos, which broke out less than two blocks from the NYPD’s 101st Precinct stationhouse.

“It happened so fast,” Melissa Morgan, 39, told the New York Daily News. “The police officer fell on the floor and the other officers dragged the two guys out of the car. I was running for cover.

“He shot a cop,” added Morgan. “It’s unbelievable.”

A local barber who watched the shooting unfold saw Diller fall to the ground.

“He was rolling around on the ground saying, ‘I’m shot, I’m shot,’” said the man, who did not want to be named.

In a police radio transmission, frantic officers could be heard calling for an ambulance moments after Diller was shot.

“We need a bus here ASAP!” an officer screams into the radio. “We have an officer shot!”

The NYPD shut down the Van Wyck Expressway to rush the wounded officer to Jamaica Hospital Medical Center, where he died.

“Doctors, they did everything they could,” NYPD Police Commissioner Edward Caban said. “Tragically, they couldn’t save him.”

As Diller’s colleagues escorted the mortally wounded officer to the hospital, other cops stayed on the scene and continued to investigate, recovering a firearm.

Rivera was expected to survive his injuries and Jones, the driver of the car, was taken into custody, police said.

Rivera has been arrested by the NYPD 21 times, including for nine felonies, police sources said.

He was released from prison in 2021 after serving nearly five years for criminal sale of a controlled substance, according to Department of Correction records.

He was locked up for assault in 2011 and released in 2014.

Jones has an ongoing criminal case in Queens, records show. Jones, 41, was hit with weapon charges in April 2023. He was out on a $75,000 bail and was due back in court on Monday.

“April 2023 — less than a year, gun charge, he’s back on the street,” Adams said. “This is what you call not a crime problem, but a recidivist problem. The same bad people doing bad things to good people. Less than a year, he’s back on the streets.”

Jones served over nine years in prison for an attempted murder and robbery charges, records show. He was released in 2012.

Caban said there will be “plenty of time for anger, grief and for processing pain” but asked New Yorkers to keep Diller’s family in their thoughts, particularly the fallen officer’s “devastated” young wife.

In a statement, Queens Borough President Donovan Richards Jr. mourned Diller, of Massapequa Park, L.I.

“It takes unimaginable courage to protect and serve New York City, knowing there’s a chance you might not make it home to your family at the end of the day,” he said in a statement. “NYPD Officer Jonathan Diller was the personification of that courage, and his heroism in making the ultimate sacrifice in the name of public safety will never be forgotten.”

The most recent crime targeting a NYPD officer happened in December.

An cop was shot as police attempted to arrest Kent Edwards, 43, in a Lower East Side apartment, according to police.

Edwards fired off four shots. Three of the bullets hit officers’ shields known as bunkers, and the other was caught in a bulletproof vest.

The officers were not seriously injured in that shooting, but Edwards was shot and killed by police.


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