Accused killer of FDNY EMT recited alphabet after passersby tackled him, witness testifies
Jose Gonzalez’s trial began Wednesday, nearly six years after Yadira Arroyo’s death
By Larry McShane
New York Daily News
NEW YORK — The accused killer of a beloved Bronx EMT began bizarrely reciting the alphabet once bystanders tackled him as he fled the murder scene, an eyewitness testified Thursday at the suspect’s murder trial.
Ralph Alonso, a Sanitation Department budget analyst, recounted the chaotic scene after FDNY Emergency Medical Technician Yadira Arroyo was run down with her own ambulance — with a number of strangers, including a police officer, taking down drug-addled suspect Jose Gonzalez as he walked away from the carnage.
“We grabbed him, we put down on the ground,” recounted the Bronx resident and ex-Marine, who was on his way to buy lottery tickets a few moments earlier. “I was sitting on top of him, just making sure he couldn’t get up.”
Gonzalez told Alonso to get off of him before running through the letters of the alphabet in no particular order, the witness said on the second day of the long-delayed trial.
Alonso, who identified the suspect inside the Bronx courtroom, recalled holding Gonzalez’s arm as a police officer put the defendant in handcuffs. Gonzalez, age 31 and with 31 prior arrests, licked his lips nervously at the defense table as Alonso testified.
A second witness, NYPD Officer Dino Vucetovic of the 43rd Precinct, recalled the wild scene after a 10-13 emergency call came across his radio. Arroyo was dead when he arrived on the scene, with Vucetovic recounting how the suspect was placed inside a police car where he fell asleep or passed out.
And NYPD Detective Patrick Curran testified that Gonzalez was “quiet and just regular” when placed in a cell at the 43rd Precinct stationhouse.
The trial opened Wednesday, nearly six years after Gonzalez is accused of hijacking Arroyo’s ambulance and running her down as her partner Monique Williams watched in horror on March 16, 2017. Arroyo, a 14-year veteran EMT was a beloved colleague and the mother of five boys.
Prosecutors and multiple defense attorneys fought across more than 50 hearings before Gonzalez, was found fit to stand trial in the headline-making death. He was finally declared fit for prosecution in September to end the long-running legal battle.
The defendant was charged with murder, manslaughter, vehicular manslaughter and driving under the influence of drugs.
A Bronx judge rejected a Thursday call from Gonzalez’s attorney for a mistrial after the lawyer asserted there was a problem with the dismissal of 20 jurors who would not get paid by their employers.
“There is no systematic exclusion here,” said Assistant District Attorney George Suminski. “I won’t belabor the court, because I think the court’s brought up a lot of the points that I wanted to bring up.”
Arroyo’s colleagues and family members once again turned out for the hearing and once again had the frim task of sitting by while the video of her final moments were played.
“It brings me back to day one. Seeing the video over and over just keeps opening that wound. It’s not closing, it’s just weeping and becoming raw,” the slain first responder’s aunt, Ali Hernandez said. “It’s horrible. I was telling my brother that I wish they would stop playing the video — when I see Monique screaming, asking her to get up, oh my God, you don’t know what it does to me.”