Psychiatrist says FDNY EMT Yadira Arroyo’s accused killer was ‘clearly psychotic’
“He was not taking medication, he did not want to take medication and he didn’t think he was mentally ill,” said Bellevue’s director of forensic psychiatry
By Ellen Moynihan, Elizabeth Keogh
New York Daily News
NEW YORK — A psychiatrist who treated the accused killer of a Bronx EMT says the man was “clearly psychotic” when he was questioned by detectives in the aftermath of the horrific murder.
As the murder trial against Jose Gonzalez, 31, continued Wednesday in the Bronx, his defense attorney called Bellevue Hospital’s Director of Forensic Psychiatry Dr. Jeremy Colley as a witness.
Colley first met Gonzalez in the hospital’s prison ward in March 2017, days after the death of FDNY EMT Yadira Arroyo.
Arroyo, 44, was with her partner driving through the Bronx on March 16, 2017 when they spotted Gonzalez riding on the back of their ambulance.
The duo pulled over and Arroyo stepped out of the ambulance to see what was going on. When she stepped onto the street, Gonzalez climbed into the driver’s seat, put the vehicle in reverse and ran her down.
He was able to put the ambulance in drive and run over Arroyo, a 14-year veteran, one more time before an off-duty MTA police officer and bystanders tackled him.
After his arraignment, he was taken to Rikers Island but was soon transferred to Bellevue, Colley said Wednesday.
“Doctors were convinced he was psychotic,” Colley said. “He was not taking medication, he did not want to take medication and he didn’t think he was mentally ill.”
In addition to reviewing Gonzalez’s records from Rikers and Bellevue, Colley said he reassessed a toxicology report showing PCP in the defendant’s bloodstream and NYPD interview videos in which Gonzalez rambled incoherently — even dubbing himself a “hero” while giving conflicting accounts of how he got into the ambulance.
“He was clearly psychotic when he was talking to the detectives,” Colley said after viewing the first few minutes of the footage. “I’m watching him talk to the NYPD detectives [and] I think there were simply things he didn’t recall or remember.”
Gonzalez had 31 arrests before the killing and faces charges of murder, manslaughter, vehicular manslaughter and driving under the influence of drugs.
Colley, who serves as an expert witness in both criminal and civil litigation, told the court he believes Gonzalez made many delusional statements to police.
“I think the most prominent one is his belief that there’s a bomb in the ambulance,” the doctor said. “I’m thinking, is he just telling stories, is he pulling our leg? I considered it. I don’t think that’s the best explanation.”
Gonzalez told police that he hears voices in his head and speaks directly to God. He was previously deemed unfit to stand trial, but in September it was ruled that he could.
His first court appearance in the case came in April 2017, when he pleaded not guilty.