A 25-year-old gang member was arraigned Friday on murder charges in the death of a New York City emergency medical technician (EMT).
The incident began March 16 when Jose Gonzalez allegedly jumped on the back bumper of an ambulance and rode three blocks before EMT Yadira Arroyo -- who was en route to help a pregnant woman -- got out and spoke to him. Gonzalez claimed his hand was injured and needed treatment. Police say he suddenly got into the ambulance by way of the open driver’s side door, put the ambulance into reverse and ran over Arroyo as she was trying to pull him out of the vehicle, dragging her some distance and killing her.
News sources report that the courtroom was packed with EMTs who reacted emotionally and loudly when an attorney for Jose Gonzales said his client was mentally ill. Gonzalez appeared heavily intoxicated in cellphone videos recorded shortly before the incident and has a lengthy criminal history.
The prosecutor in the case told the judge Gonzalez is currently implicated in two open cases – for attacking a security guard and a police officer. He allegedly had violently stolen a backback from a teenage boy just before getting on the ambulance.
His family reportedly said he’d received psychiatric treatment in the past.
This was the second killing of a NYC public safety worker in recent months.