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Tragic Loss Of Massapequa Police Officer

The community is grieving the tragic loss of a public servant who was recently killed on the line of duty. On Monday, March 25, NYPD Officer Jonathan Diller of Massapequa Park was fatally shot while conducting a traffic stop in Far Rockaway, Queens. The incident took place when Officer Diller and a second officer were conducting a vehicle stop with two people inside on Mott Avenue at around 5:45 p.m.

Officer Diller was promptly brought to Jamaica Hospital in critical condition but later died.

Officer Jonathan Diller of Massapequa Park (Photo credit NYPD)

Diller was part of the NYPD Community Response Team, which actively addresses New Yorkers’ quality of life complaints by seizing illegal dirt bikes and taking guns off the streets. NYPD officials said the officers stopped this vehicle because it was parked at a bus stop illegally. When the officers asked the individuals to step out of the vehicle, the suspect in the passenger’s seat, Guy Rivera, refused. During a tug-of-war over the suspect’s car door, Rivera pointed a gun at the officers, shooting Diller in the torso just below his bullet-resistant vest. “I’m shot,” Diller could be heard saying on police body camera footage. While shot, Diller continued to try to disarm the suspect. Officer Diller’s partner fired back at Rivera and struck him in the back.

Diller, 31, a three-year veteran of the force, died Monday night at Jamaica Hospital Medical Center after he was shot once in the torso in Far Rockaway, police said. Diller was the first NYPD officer killed in the line of duty since 2022.

The two suspects being held in connection with the shooting — Rivera, and driver Lindy Jones — both have extensive criminal records, according to documents from the Queens District Attorney’s Office.

Officer Diller is survived by his wife and 1-year-old child.

In the wake of this tragedy, the community has come together to support one another and express their grief. Jonathan Diller’s neighbor of 30 years, Ronald Benevento, felt sick at the news of his passing. “Jonathan did it the right way. He did nothing but help people. And that’s what he was all about,” Benevento said to reporters at Newsday. “Just making the community better and being a better person and making everyone better.”

Nancy Ferranola, of Massapequa Park, spent a day hanging blue ribbons and bunting along the street across from Diller’s home. “It’s what we do as a community and neighbors,” Ferranola said. “This was a senseless, horrific act … He was a true hero in every sense of the word.” In her interview with Newsday reporters, Ferranola recalled watching Diller playing in the front yard with Ryan last weekend and later pushing the boy in a wagon. “He had a beautiful wife and a young son with their life ahead of them,” she said. “He was a loving father and husband and a great neighbor.”

Police Officer Jonathan Diller received a dignified transfer home.
(Photo credit NYPD on Instagram)

Local agencies and officials also chimed in to convey their condolences. In an X (formerly Twitter) post, the Nassau County District Attorney’s Office stated, “Our thoughts are with Police Officer Jonathan Diller’s family, his Massapequa Park community, and the members of the NYPD as they mourn his tragic loss. We will always remember his heroism and bravery.” NYPD Police Commissioner Edward Caban added, “We struggle to find the words to express the tragedy of losing one of our own. The work that Police Officer Jonathan Diller did each day to make this city a safer place will never be forgotten. We pray for his family and brothers and sisters in blue as we cope with this immense loss.”

The Nassau County Sheriff’s Department stated, “Sheriff La Rocco and the men and women of the Nassau County Sheriff’s Department offer their deepest condolences to the family, friends, and colleagues of New York City Police Department Officer Jonathan Diller. May he rest in peace.” And from the Nassau County Police Benevolent Association, “Our condolences go out to the family of NYPD Officer Jonathan Diller and all of our NYPD brothers and sisters during this difficult time.”

Tim’s Florist in Massapequa Park is donating police blue ribbons to the community to show support for Diller and his family.

Oyster Bay Town Supervisor Joseph Saladino, County Executive Bruce Blakeman, and Massapequa Park Village Mayor Daniel Pearl attended a candlelight vigil honoring Officer Diller in his hometown of Massapequa Park on March 27. At the vigil, Mayor Pearl said, “This is a difficult time for our community. As a village, a town, the county and the nation, we mourn the loss of a dedicated individual who was taken from us in the most unfair circumstances. NYPD Police Officer Jonathan Diller is a hero, a family man who chose to raise his family here in our community and whose family is undergoing the unimaginable as they mourn the sudden loss.

“Thank you to all of our neighbors who are here tonight to show their support and to honor the life and service of Officer Diller. To the Diller family: I assure you, we are here for you. All of us here on this stage, out there in the audience, and all throughout the community, we pray for you, we cry with you and collectively we grieve this terrible tragedy.”

Joseph, Diller’s brother-in-law, also spoke. “If I had to describe Jonathan in just one word, it would be crazy. He was crazy about his job. He loved what he did. He was born to be a cop. He was born to be a hero. He died being a hero, doing what he loved. He was crazy about his friends. No matter what his schedule was like, he helped out his friends.

“Last but not least, he was crazy about his family. Family was number one in his life. His sister, his brother, his mother, his wife and his son Ryan. He taught me how to be a better person. How to be better for his sister. And I’ll never forget that.”

Supervisor Saladino added, “To the Diller family: We are with you, and we will always be here for you. And as you look out at this crowd of people filled with tremendous respect and love, please know the warmth and light of these candles is just the beginning.”

The Massapequa Funeral Home held viewing services on March 28 and March 29. Saint Rose of Lima R.C. Church held a funeral service on March 30th. Officer Diller was laid to rest at Saint Charles Cemetery.

Readers interested in more information on potential repercussions of this tragedy can turn to page 2A.

—Additional reporting by Julia Russo

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