FDNY EMT Yadira Arroyo’s murderer gets life sentence

“It is a relief to finally have justice,” said Oren Barzilay, president of FDNY EMS Local 2507

By Harry Parker, Larry McShane | April 26, 2023

NEW YORK — A deranged Bronx defendant was sentenced Wednesday to life without parole for the murder of beloved city EMT Yadira Arroyo, the final step in a tortured legal process stretching over six heartbreaking years.

Jose Gonzalez, 31, appeared seven weeks after his conviction for the murder of Arroyo, a 14-year EMT veteran and the mother of five sons, in the headline-making case. The courtroom, as it was during the trial, was packed with the victim’s family and colleagues.

 “This is a moment many of us thought to be far out of reach for years,” said Oren Barzilay, President, FDNY EMS Local 2507. “Now that a sentence has finally been issued, it’s a blessing to know that Yadira’s family and colleagues can be at peace. She was a light in the EMS family taken too soon. It is a relief to finally have justice.”

The long-awaited guilty verdict came in March, just eight days before the sixth anniversary of Arroyo’s gruesome death beneath the wheels of her hijacked truck.

The career criminal had a rap sheet of 31 prior arrests when he crossed paths with Arroyo, who was working an overtime shift when killed.

The prosecution was repeatedly delayed in a battle over the defendant’s mental health, with dozens of hearings held and conflicting court filings over his fitness for trial. The case finally began this past February, with Gonzalez convicted after a month-long trial and two days of deliberations.

Arroyo’s colleagues wept in the courtroom when the verdict was read, while Gonzalez stood impassively.

“Yadira Arroyo was an extraordinary EMT who cared for her patients deeply – just as she was doing when she was brutally killed six years ago,” said FDNY Commissioner Laura Kavanagh. “We are grateful her killer will never be on the streets again, with no eligibility for parole … We will continue to honor her memory of service to our city.”

The shocking March 16, 2017, killing left Arroyo’s co-workers devastated — particularly her partner, who watched helplessly as Gonzalez jumped inside their truck and twice ran Arroyo down.

The lethal encounter was set in motion after Gonzalez jumped on the back of their moving vehicle, with things escalating from there. Once arrested, the killer bizarrely began reciting the alphabet.