Mourners gather at Bronx wake for EMT Yadira Arroyo

MORRISANIA, Bronx (WABC) -- Family, friends and fellow first responders are among those gathering at a wake Thursday to remember a Bronx EMT who dedicated her life to helping others.

Yadira Arroyo, 44, was struck and killed last week by her own ambulance after it was stolen. Services are being held in the Bronx, where the line of mourners stretched nearly a city block.

Hundreds of EMTs, firefighters, police officers waited to pay their respects to Arroyo, one of their own killed in the line of duty. Outside the funeral home, members of Station 26 saluted as vans dropped off family members.

"Yari was like the mother at our station," FDNY paramedic Alex Tull said. "She always wanted to feed us. She always wanted to make sure we were fed and ready for our shift."

And it was during a routine shift when the unthinkable happened. Arroyo was struck and dragged by her ambulance after it was carjacked, allegedly by 25-year-old Jose Gonzalez.

Cell phone video showed the suspect riding on the back of the ambulance minutes earlier, and Gonzalez is accused of jumping in the driver's seat when Arroyo and her partner got out to investigate. It was a sequence of events that has many still in shock.

"How can someone who used this vehicle to save lives for almost 15 years here in the Bronx had this vehicle take her life away?" Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz, Jr., said.

Arroyo was a mother to five sons, and mourners remembered her infectious laugh, love of life and compassion she showed to patients.

"We're losing a sister," FDNY paramedic David Cadogan said. "We're losing somebody that meant a lot more than words can really say. And a lot of us are having a hard time holding it together. But we're there for each other. It hurts."

Gonzalez waived a court appearance Wednesday.

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