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Family mourns NYPD Officer Jonathan Diller, shot by ex-con during Queens car stop

NEW YORK — Funeral arrangements were being made Tuesday as the city continues to reel from the slaying of NYPD Officer Jonathan Diller by an ex-con who pulled a gun during a routine Queens car stop, officials said.

NYPD cops stood shoulder to shoulder Monday night as Diller’s body was taken out of Jamaica Hospital and transported to the morgue, then to a funeral home where thousands of cops are expected to pay final respects later in the week.

“He was walked out honorably, to many tears and salutes,” Diller’s brother-in-law Jonathan McAuley, a fellow NYPD cop, posted on Facebook. “What started out as an everyday car stop instantly became a moment where so many lives would be turned upside down.”

Diller leaves behind a young bride and 1-year-old son. McAuley posted a picture of the baby son wearing a T-shirt emblazoned with the words, “My Daddy’s life matters.”

“There are no words to describe how devastated we are that you are gone,” McAuley wrote. “You were a good man and a great father whose shoes can never be filled. I swear to you that I will look after your son as if he were my own.”

Diller, a member of the NYPD’s Queens South Community Response Team, was patrolling Far Rockaway with his partner when they saw a Kia SUV idling in a bus stop on Mott Ave. near Smith Place just before 5:50 p.m. Monday.

“To those of you out there in the streets, it can be so easy to become wrapped into the moment,” Diller’s brother-in-law wrote to fellow first responders. “To think horrible events like this cant happen to you. To become focused on making that next arrest or racing to the action. Remember those who love you at those moments.”

The cops asked Lindy Jones, 41, and Guy Rivera, 34, to move the vehicle but they refused, NYPD Chief of Detectives Joseph Kenny said.

“[Rivera] was asked to leave the car,” Kenny said at a news conference at Jamaica Hospital, where Mayor Adams announced Diller’s death. “He was given a lawful order numerous times to step out of the car and he refused. Instead of stepping out of the car he shot our officer.”

Diller, 31, was shot in the torso underneath his bullet-resistant vest. Despite the mortal wound he “still stayed in the fight,” Kenny said.

“[Diller] was trying to unarm the person that had just shot him as [Diller] was on the floor,” Kenny said. “The gun hit the ground and as the perpetrator was still reaching for it this cop was able to grab it, although he was still shot.”

Diller’s partner shot Rivera once in the back.

Cops closed down sections of the Van Wyck Expressway as Diller was rushed to Jamaica Hospital and into surgery but he couldn’t be saved.

Diller joined the NYPD three years ago. His family at his Massapequa Park home were too grief stricken to speak to reporters Tuesday.

Mayor Adams on Monday called Diller’s death “a senseless act of violence.”

“We lost one of our sons today and it is extremely painful,” Adams said. “It’s extremely painful.”

Police Benevolent Association President Patrick Hendry said Diller confronted Rivera “knowing he was putting his life at risk.”

“(He did this) knowing that he had a family waiting for him at home, but he did it to protect the people of this city,” Hendry said Monday night, wondering what emboldened Rivera to pull a weapon.

“Why did this violent individual with a gun have no fear to shoot a New York City police officer?” Hendry asked. “These attacks on New York City police officers have to end right now!”

Rivera is expected to recover and Jones, the driver of the SUV, was taken into custody, police said. A gun was recovered at the scene.

Charges against the two men were pending Tuesday.

Rivera has been arrested by the NYPD 21 times, including for nine felonies, police sources said.

He was released from prison in 2021 after serving nearly five years for drug dealing, according to Department of Correction records. He was also locked up for assault in 2011 and released in 2014.

Jones, who was unarmed, has an ongoing gun case in Queens, records show. Jones, 41, was hit with weapon charges in April 2023. He was out on $75,000 bail and due back in court on Monday in that case.

“April 2023 — less than a year, gun charge, he’s back on the street,” Adams said. “This is what you call not a crime problem but a recidivist problem. The same bad people doing bad things to good people. Less than a year, he’s back on the streets.”

Jones served more than nine years in prison on attempted-murder and robbery charges, records show. He was released in 2012.

As Diller’s family tries to figure out how to go on without the young cop, the New York Police and Fire Widows’ and Children’s Benefit Fund, also known as Answer the Call, will be providing the family with $50,000 to offset any immediate financial concerns. The fund will also provide the family with a $10,000 yearly stipend.

“We believe the best way to honor our fallen heroes is to help the families they have left behind,” Lauren Profeta, Executive Director of Answer the Call, said Tuesday.