The suspect on trial for the killing of 44-year-old FDNY EMT and mother of five Yadira Arroyo, who was run over by her own stolen ambulance nearly six years ago, reportedly told cops that he was a “hero.”
Police say 25-year-ol Jose Gonzalez was high on PCP on March 16, 2017, when he jumped onto the back bumper of an ambulance riding along White Plains Road in the Soundview neighborhood of the Bronx.
Alerted by a passing driver, the two EMTs – on their way to a call to help a pregnant woman – got out to investigate, and that’s when Gonzalez is accused of hopping behind the wheel.
In a recorded interview with police after the bloodshed, Gonzalez reportedly rambled and insisted he had a broken hand and was seeking medical help, remarking at one point that he was a “hero.”
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“All I remember is getting onto the ambulance and driving to the hospital,” Gonzalez tells officers in the video played out in court Tuesday, according to New York Daily News.
“All of a sudden the mother—— police crashed into the ambulance,” he adds.
Gonzalez claimed that he had been invited into the ambulance, saying one EMT noted he was bleeding.
“I’m a good guy, I’ll protect you,” he says in the video. “I’m a hero. I want to go home, I’m tired.”
“Did you notice there was somebody underneath the vehicle?” one detective asks.
“No, there was no one there,” Gonzalez says. “What you mean? That’s a lie.”
“Ambulances don’t drive themselves,” the detective responds. “They go out in crews of two. She was trying to get back in when you were driving.”
“I speak to God, and I hear voices in my head,” Gonzalez says. “You’re trying to use reverse psychology because I didn’t do anything wrong.
“I’m a hero, I saved that lady,” he says of Arroyo’s partner.
Arroyo’s partner, Monique Williams, testified how she and Arroyo tried to fight Gonzalez off.
Williams said she was trying to pull Gonzalez’s hand off the steering wheel, but he managed to kick the ambulance into gear, the New York Post reported. He backed up, striking another car and Arroyo fell. The ambulance lurched forward, running Arroyo over and dragging her into the intersection.
“I lost sight of her,” Williams, who retired the day of the deadly incident, testified, according to the Post. “When we started to go forward, I felt some tumbling underneath us.”
“I ran over to her to try to get her up,” Williams added softly. “She didn’t get up. I stayed there with her. She didn’t move no more, so I just stood there with her.”
Tuesday’s trial was attended by about 50 EMTs, who reportedly gasped from the gallery when prosecutors displayed photos showing the blood-splattered driver-side door of the ambulance.
Another witness testified Tuesday that after mowing down the EMT, Gonzalez got out of the vehicle and allegedly began to fight with the gathering crowd. He allegedly attempted to throw a punch before another man grabbed him and threw him to the ground. A photo of Gonzalez’s initial perp walk as he was led out of an NYPD precinct following his arrest showed him sporting a black and bruised right eye.
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The case was discussed over more than 50 hearings before Gonzalez was cleared for trial.
He was initially declared unfit for trial last year until professionals at the Mid-Hudson Forensic Psychiatric Center reversed course and a hearing in September finally set a trial start date.
He reportedly had 31 prior arrests before Arroyo’s killing.