A 25-year-old man has been charged with murder after allegedly commandeering a New York City ambulance and running over a fire department emergency medical worker, killing her and injuring another.
Jose Gonzalez was also charged with grand larceny and operating a vehicle while impaired by drugs, authorities said Friday, according to WCBS-TV.
The New York City Fire Department identified the victim as Yadira Arroyo, a 44-year-old mother of five and a 14-year veteran with the department.
"She started her shift today like every other day and then a senseless act of violence takes her life," Mayor Bill de Blasio said Thursday. The family is "going through unspeakable grief," he said.
More than 35 EMT workers, in full uniform, gathered outside a police precinct early Friday to jeer at Gonzalez while he was being transported, the Daily News reports.
The newspaper said the long-haired Gonzalez, sporting a busted lip and black eye, smirked in the face of the taunts as he was led to a police car. “I'm innocent, I ain't do nothing,” Gonzalez, a Bronx resident with a long criminal record, told reporters, the Daily News reported.
The bizarre incident occurred Thursday evening in the Bronx as two emergency medical technicians were responding to a call and a passing motorist alerted them that a man was riding on their rear bumper.
The EMTs stopped the ambulance and the driver got out to approach the suspect, New York City Police Department Deputy Chief Jason Wilcox said.
The man, identified as Gonzalez, then jumped into the driver's seat, scuffling with the EMT in the passenger's seat, Wilcox told reporters.
He then slammed the ambulance in reverse, striking Arroyo, who fell and got caught beneath the wheels, fire officials said.
Video posted on Twitter by a bystander shows the ambulance speeding across an intersection with one of its doors open, its lights flashing and the body of one of the EMTs being dragged beneath the vehicle, the Associated Press reports.
The man then rammed the ambulance into a parked car and got stuck in a snowbank, Wilcox told reporters. A passing transit police officer, aided by a civilian, apprehended Gonzalez.
“I want to thank those good Samaritans who helped apprehend the perpetrator,” de Blasio said. “A lot of heroism was on display amidst a great tragedy.”
Arroyo is the eighth FDNY medical technician and the third woman to die in the line of duty, NYC Fire Commissioner Daniel Nigro said. "It's a sad night ... for everyone in the department," he said.
Those who wish to donate to Arroyo's family may do so through The New York Police and Fire Widows' and Children's Benefit Fund, known as Answer the Call, by clicking here.
The organization will provide $25,000 to Arroyo's family.
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