Man accused in death of EMT Yadira Arroyo waives court appearance

Wednesday, March 22, 2017 04:57PM
Tim Fleischer has the latest

MORRISANIA, Bronx - The suspected carjacker charged in the death of a 44-year-old EMT in the Bronx waived his right to appear at a court date Wednesday.

The attorney for Jose Gonzalez also told the court his client would not testify in front of a grand jury.

The case was adjourned, and Gonzalez is due back in court on April 5.

EMTs, paramedics and firefighters honored with applause the members of Station 26, the co-workers of Yadira Arroyo, as they entered the courtroom.

Inside it was filled to capacity and Gonzalez would have faced an angry crowd, but instead chose to waive his right to appear.

"Because he remains in very poor physical as well as a mental health condition," said defense attorney Alice Fontier.

Gonzalez is charged with the murder of Yadira Arroyo after he allegedly ran her down with her own ambulance last week. He is being held without bail.

During the brief hearing, Fontier surprisingly revealed to the court that someone in corrections had been taking video of what was supposed to be a private conversation between her and Gonzalez.

"I objected to that because just like anyone else, Mr. Gonzalez has retained his constitutional rights and has the right to have privileged conversations," said Fontier.

The judge ordered the D.A.'s office to investigate and make sure the video does not go public.

Outside they chanted 'Yadi', Yadira's nickname. She was, they say, the matron of their station. For many of them, Arroyo's loss is intensely personal, many knowing her well.

"Every time I was on a call with her, as a paramedic backing her up, it was always good because she was the EMT that you want, the ideal EMT," said paramedic Anthony Sanchez.

The EMTs and their union are also providing support for Arroyo's five boys as they prepare for her wake and funeral later this week.

"We are all full of emotion, you know," said Lt. Jessica Duffy of Station 26. "We are angry. We're sad. Some of us are still in shock."

The 25-year-old Gonzalea has a lengthy police record, including 31 prior arrests for criminal mischief, assault, marijuana sale and possession, turnstile jumping and public lewdness.

Most recently, he was arrested on Feb. 25 for allegedly resisting arrest and kicking out a window in a police van. Prior to that, he was arrested last June for assault and harassment, and reportedly released without bail in both cases.

On Tuesday night, the FDNY held a vigil for Arroyo outside EMS station 26 where she worked in the Morrisania section of the Bronx.

Arroyo spent 14 years as a city EMT, most of it right at EMS station 26 in the Bronx.

RELATED: Wake, Funeral arrangements for Yadira Arroyo
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