Yadira Arroyo, the emergency worker killed Thursday, and her partner were responding to a call when a passerby alerted the pair to a person riding on their ambulance's back bumper, according to the New York Times.
Arroyo, 44, left behind five boys - the youngest 7, the oldest 24 - when a career criminal with 31 prior arrests stole her ambulance and used it to mow her down in the Soundview section of the Bronx on Thursday. Her sister-in-law Monica Salazar told the New York Post that Arroyo's children were able to say goodbye. Then Jose Gonzalez jumped into the driver's seat and took off in the ambulance, said FDNY Commissioner Daniel Nigro said. The second EMT, seen in the bystander's video kneeling and sobbing over the body of her fallen partner, was treated at a Bronx hospital for minor injuries, police said.
Police and fire officials initially said Arroyo's partner was also hit during the crash, but they later said she remained in the vehicle during the ordeal. "And yet that danger always exists for them", he said.
"She started her shift today like every other day and then a senseless acts of violence takes her life", de Blasio said. At that moment, a transit police officer who was driving by stopped his vehicle and apprehended the suspect with the help of passersby who also were in the area, Wilcox said. Arroyo tried to pull him out of the ambulance, but he put the vehicle in reverse, knocking her to the ground, police said. "We lost a family member who really really did this job selflessly", Variale said.
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"I miss her. Of course, you know, I love her", said Arroyo's son Edgar, 22. "Tonight's tragedy in the Bronx is terrible", he said. Her sister-in-law Monica Salazar told the New York Post that Arroyo's children range in age from 7 to 24, and the youngest lives in CT.
Arroyo was the matriarch of her station, Lt. George Lampon said, according to CNN affiliate WCBS.
De Blasio thanked the officer and bystander who apprehended Gonzalez, saying, "A lot of heroism was on display amidst a great tragedy". While EMTs know their vital work can be unsafe, they don't expect violence, Fire Commissioner Daniel Nigro said Friday.
"It's a sad night for everyone in the department", said Nigro.