Suspect in FDNY EMT Yadira Arroyo’s killing told officer he was a ‘hero’
Prosecutors at Jose Gonzalez’s trial used his 2017 interview with police as his testimony
By Leonard Greene, Ellen Moynihan
New York Daily News
NEW YORK — A man accused of killing a city EMT under the wheels of her own vehicle claimed to cops he had taken the ambulance to drive himself to the hospital — and outrageously called himself a “hero,” to boot.
Prosecutors at Jose Gonzalez’s long-awaited trial in the Bronx used his 2017 interview with cops after Yadira Arroyo’s grisly death as his testimony on Wednesday.
Gonzalez rambled and changed his story several times when discussing the recklessness that ended with Arroyo, a 44-year-old mother of five, under the wheels of her own ambulance.
“All I remember is getting onto the ambulance and driving to the hospital,” Gonzalez tells cops in the recording, insisting he had broken his hand and was seeking medical help.
“All of a sudden the m——-f——— police crashed into the ambulance.”
Cops say Gonzalez was high on PCP on March 16, 2017, when he allegedly jumped on Arroyo’s rear bumper in Soundview.
When she stepped out of the ambulance to investigate, Gonzalez slid behind the wheel and took off, according to police.
He ran her over twice and dragged her into the intersection of White Plains Road and Watson Ave. while her partner desperately tried to stop him, prosecutors said.
But Gonzalez, in the video, gave police a different account. He claimed he was invited into the vehicle by Arroyo’s partner.
“She opened it. She said ‘get in,’ ” said the defendant, who switched between saying he entered the ambulance from the back and the front driver’s side.
“While I’m holding on I opened it, jumped through, and there was no one on the passenger seat. There was no one driving. She said, ‘Yo, you bleeding.’”
Gonzalez said he “saved the ambulance,”
“I’m a good guy, I’ll protect you,” he said in the video. “I’m a hero. I want to go home, I’m tired.”
Then cops tell him about the EMT under the ambulance.
“Did you notice there was somebody underneath the vehicle?” asked one of the detectives.
“No, there was no one there,” said Gonzalez. “What you mean? That’s a lie.”
“Ambulances don’t drive themselves,” the detective responded. “They go out in crews of two. She was trying to get back in when you were driving.”
Gonzalez still protested.
“I speak to God, and I hear voices in my head,” Gonzalez said. “You’re trying to use reverse psychology because I didn’t do anything wrong.
“I’m a hero, I saved that lady,” he said of Arroyo’s partner.
Arroyo, a 14-year FDNY veteran, was pronounced dead at the scene.
The case dragged across more than 50 hearings before Gonzalez was finally found fit for trial, with a court date set last September after seemingly endless legal wrangling on his mental competence.
Gonzalez had 31 arrests before the killing and faces charges of murder, manslaughter, vehicular manslaughter and driving under the influence of drugs.