Sat. Apr 13th, 2024
alert-–-widow-of-slain-nypd-cop-jonathan-diller,-31,-slams-city’s-crime-levels-in-emotional-eulogy-at-police-officer’s-funeral-before-receiving-flag-honoring-his-loss-–-as-mayor-eric-adams-pledges-to-end-gun-violenceAlert – Widow of slain NYPD cop Jonathan Diller, 31, slams city’s crime levels in emotional eulogy at police officer’s funeral before receiving flag honoring his loss – as mayor Eric Adams pledges to end gun violence

Slain policeman Jonathan Diller has been mourned at a funeral attended by thousands of cops from around the country.

The NYPD officer was gunned down in Far Rockaway, near JFK Airport, on Monday, allegedly by career criminal Guy Rivera.

Diller, 31, received a police funeral at St Rose of Lima RC Church in Massapequa, on Long Island, that began at 10.30am today as 10,000 people turned up.

His coffin, covered in the green, blue, and white NYPD flag, was carried into the church through a sea of uniformed officers.

Once inside, it was draped with Catholic regalia and carried to the front of the church with his wife Stephanie Diller and one-year-old son Ryan behind.

Stephanie, 29, made a long, emotional speech during which she was constantly on the verge of tears, but spoke with pride of her husband.

Stephanie made a long, emotional speech during which she was constantly on the verge of tears, but spoke with pride of her husband

Stephanie made a long, emotional speech during which she was constantly on the verge of tears, but spoke with pride of her husband

Diller, 31, was a New York Police Department officer who was allegedly shot and killed by suspect Guy Rivera, 34, on Monday evening

Diller, 31, was a New York Police Department officer who was allegedly shot and killed by suspect Guy Rivera, 34, on Monday evening

She received a standing ovation when it was her turn to speak, and began by thanking the police for their support over the past week.

‘He has always been a hero to Ryan and me, the rest of the world is just catching up,’ she said.

‘My husband died a hero, but he always lived as one.’

More than $2 million was raised to support Diller’s family, from thousands of donations from all over the US. 

Stephanie recalled how Diller, brother to Jennifer and Jason, was a mischievous youngest child and made up for it by writing his mother handwritten apology letters.

They met after he graduated from maritime collage when they got set up on a blind date by mutual friend Evan.

He fell asleep on one of their early dates in a movie theater because he was so tired from work.

‘He started snoring so loudly that the people around us asked me to wake him up. But of course, if you ever asked him, I’m the one who fell asleep, started snoring, and embarrassed him,’ Stephanie said.

‘I quickly knew I had found the person I was going to marry.

‘I never doubted how much Jonathan loves me, because he always told me. He was absolutely my soulmate and we could just understand each other with a look. 

‘Any time I entered a room I looked for him and I knew where I belonged was the spot next to him.

‘He would make an absolute fool of himself just to get me to crack a smile.’

Stephanie is handed the green, blue, and white NYPD flag her husband’s coffin was draped in, before it was ceremonially folded into a triangle

The salute traditionally given after the flag is handed over to the fallen cop's widow

The salute traditionally given after the flag is handed over to the fallen cop’s widow

Stephanie holding the flag moments later as the hearse prepares to leave

Stephanie holding the flag moments later as the hearse prepares to leave

Before he became a cop he was away for a month at a time piloting ships and they exchanged more than 100 emails.

‘I would excitedly wake up to emails form him with hilarious subject lines such as “Jonathan Diller is a stud”,’ she said.

Stephanie said she was nervous to walk down the aisle at their wedding until she saw him when the church doors opened.

‘I saw him look at me and I realized how luck I was. He looked at me like I was his whole world and he always treated me like I was his whole world,’ she said.

‘He called us Batman and Robin, but he said I was Batman and he was Robin.’

Stephanie said when Diller became a cop, everyone was so proud that he found something that he loved to do, and that he was ‘exceptional’ at it.

‘It’s no surprise he was an incredible police officer when you think about the type of man he was,’ she said.

‘He was always putting people above himself, dropping everything to help someone in need, and speaking up for what was right. 

‘He was a fierce protector of everyone around him, he spoke his mind and wasn’t afraid.’

Once the funeral service was over about 12.45pm, Diller's coffin was carried out of the church by uniformed pallbearers, with Stephanie following behind holding Ryan

Once the funeral service was over about 12.45pm, Diller’s coffin was carried out of the church by uniformed pallbearers, with Stephanie following behind holding Ryan

Pallbearers carry Diller's coffin out of the church towards the hearse, draped in the NYPD flag, as Adams watches on

Pallbearers carry Diller’s coffin out of the church towards the hearse, draped in the NYPD flag, as Adams watches on

Stephanie holds their one-year-old son Ryan as the hearse prepares to leave for the cemetery

Stephanie said Diller had an ‘explosion of joy every time Ryan did something new… he was excited that his first word was dada’.

‘Jonathan taught me that true love has no limit. Our lives were pretty much perfect… until five days ago,’ she said.

‘This is a devastating, senseless and tragic loss for so many… for the entire city of New York.

Stephanie lamented that there was so much Diller was looking forward to, like watching his siblings and friends become parents, and watching Ryan grow.

‘it breaks my heart that Ryan was robbed of being able to grow up with his dad,’ she said.

‘Jonathan had so many things he wanted to teach him, like how to play ice hockey, how to drive a car, ride a bike, to watch Ryan go to his first day of school and graduate on his last.

‘ He is just like his dad, always making people smile. And I promise to raise him to be even more like his dad.’

Stephanie said that two years ago when two other cops were killed, their families begged for change – but it never came. 

Now may son has to grow up without his father, and I will grow old without my husband, and his parents have to say goodbye to their child,’ she said.

‘How many more police officers and how many more families have to make the ultimate sacrifice before we start protecting them?

‘Rest in peace, Jonathan Diller, the man who captured my heart and now all of New York’s.’

Ryan reaches out towards his father after the coffin was put inside the hearse

Ryan reaches out towards his father after the coffin was put inside the hearse

NYPD pallbearers carry the casket of Diller at his funeral at St Rose of Lima RC Church

NYPD pallbearers carry the casket of Diller at his funeral at St Rose of Lima RC Church

Michael Duffy, the priest leading the service, married Diller and Stephanie in August 2019 at Our Lady of Lourdes in Malvern.

He recalled that Diller was nervous at the wedding and he said: ‘Jon, I don’t know how you did it, but you got the most beautiful bride of the year.’

‘I remember his laughter at what I just said, and the tears welling up in his eyes,’ Duffy told mourners. 

He said as Stephanie walked down the aisle, he could feel Diller’s heart beating and him shaking at the altar, and the raw emotion along with it.

‘Stephanie told me she never felt more loved than when she got to that altar, when she stood next to Jon,’ he said.

‘That was because you were, you were loved with every fiber of his being. And that love brought forth the gift of the one making all the noise in the front row – Ryan.

‘The city is mourning a cop… but Stephanie and Ryan are mourning their everything.’

Duffy lamented Diller’s death and said people may wonder why God let it happen, why there was evil in the world – but they would see him again in heaven.

‘We shouldn’t be here right now, for so many reasons,’ he said. ‘[But] we might be in darkness right now, but that darkness won’t last forever.’

‘I wish I had the answers for the questions that we all have right now… If God loves us so much, why did this have to happen?

Michael Duffy, the priest leading the service, married Diller and Stephanie in 2019 at Our Lady of Lourdes in Malvern (pictured)

Michael Duffy, the priest leading the service, married Diller and Stephanie in 2019 at Our Lady of Lourdes in Malvern (pictured)

Michael Duffy lamented Diller’s death and said people may wonder why God let it happen, why there was evil in the world – but they would see him again in heaven

‘We know, though, that evil is real, sin is real. But so too is goodness, so too is heroism.

‘Jon didn’t need to make this sacrifice to prove how good he was, how heroic he was, to Stephanie – she already knew first hand.

‘From the moment they went on that first blind date, to dancing in New Orleans, she knew he was the one – she knew how good a man he was.

‘Monday just proved it to the rest of the world.’

Duffy offered a prayer to Diller’s family, the thousands of cops outside, the city of New York – and Diller’s beloved Islanders hockey team.

‘I wish I had a way to make this easier for us, to make sense of this. I don’t. And anyone who tries is crazy,’ he said afterwards.

New York City Mayor Eric Adams, a former NYPD captain, gave an impassioned speech at the funeral.

New York City Mayor Eric Adams, a former NYPD captain, spoke at the funeral

New York City Mayor Eric Adams, a former NYPD captain, spoke at the funeral

Diller's coffin, now draped in Catholic mourning cloth, is carried inside the church with his wife and son directly behind

Diller’s coffin, now draped in Catholic mourning cloth, is carried inside the church with his wife and son directly behind

He recalled walking into hospital to see Diller after the shooting as his police detail told him how much it hit home for them.

One of them, Jennifer, whom Adams is close to, revealed she was Diller’s cousin.

‘It was just so overwhelming. I knew I had to stay there for a while, but I just couldn’t. I needed to find a space inside the hospital that I could just sit down and reflect for a moment,’ he said.

Adams quoted the Bible verse, ‘Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends’ from John 15:13.

‘The outpouring of grief for this young man is real, and it is raw,’ he said. 

Adams recalled seeing the confronting surveillance footage of the shooting, as Diller was hit in the stomach, below his vest.

‘I hear it over again in my ears – I’ve been shot, I’ve been shot, I’ve been shot,’ he said.

‘Even after he had been shot… he fought, and took the gun out of the hands of the person who would take his life.

‘He ran towards danger, taking risks, making arrests, undoubtedly saving lives.’

Mourners pack into the church moments before the funeral began

Mourners pack into the church moments before the funeral began

The majority of the mourners were some of the thousands of police who showed up

The majority of the mourners were some of the thousands of police who showed up

Adams said it was more difficult to be a NYPD cop today than when he was on the force because of a ‘loud but not the majority’ of people.

‘Sometimes it feels like our society doesn’t appreciate that – but they do,’ he said. 

‘I want all of you to know, your mayor stands with you, I am you,’ he added, calling NYC a ‘city of law and order, not disorder’.

Adams promised in his speech that he would do all he could to end gun violence in NYC, and give police everything they needed to do so – including ‘making sure violent career criminals are held accountable for their crimes’.

NYPD Commissioner Edward Caban also spoke at the funeral, and gave Diller an honorary promotion to detective first grade.

‘When that day comes, everything we think we know, is lost,’ he said of the pain of losing an officer.

‘We are in darkness searching for answers… the pain is worse than anything we could have imagined.’ 

Disgraced former NYC mayor Rudy Giuliani attended the funeral and approached the hearse to tlakl to people inside just before it left

Disgraced former NYC mayor Rudy Giuliani attended the funeral and approached the hearse to tlakl to people inside just before it left

Emotional police officers embrace each other outside the funeral

Emotional police officers embrace each other outside the funeral

One officer passed out and fell to the ground after standing for hours

One officer passed out and fell to the ground after standing for hours

Once the funeral service was over about 12.45pm, Diller’s coffin was carried out of the church by uniformed pallbearers.

They placed it in the back of a hearse and folded the flag into a triangle, handing it to Stephanie.

Hundreds of police motorbikes led a funeral procession through the streets to St Charles Cemetery in Farmingdale, where Diller’s body was laid to rest.

A police bagpipe troop played as the hearse began to leave the church, accompanied by drums draped in purple and black mourning cloth.

Thousands of officers, from as far away as Toronto and Miami, lined the street and salute as the hearse passed. One officer passed out and fell to the ground after standing for hours.

About 10,000 people, including Long Island locals and others from all over New York, crammed into the neighborhood to pay their respects. 

Diller’s body lay in a funeral home as mourners came to pay their respects, including former president Donald Trump, and New York Governor Kathy Hochul.

Trump sent a large bouquet of hydrangeas and red roses to the church, with a note reading: ‘Thank you to Officer Diller for his service. Our prayers are with your family at this time.’

Diller's coffin, draped in the green-and-white NYPD flag arrives at the church

Diller’s coffin, draped in the green-and-white NYPD flag arrives at the church

Thousands of police from around the country line the streets ahead of Diller's funeral procession

Thousands of police from around the country line the streets ahead of Diller’s funeral procession

Hundreds of police outside St Rose of Lima RC Church in Massapequa, on Long Island, with many others lining the street the hearse will take

Hundreds of police outside St Rose of Lima RC Church in Massapequa, on Long Island, with many others lining the street the hearse will take

Police officers stood at attention outside the church as the funeral began

Police officers stood at attention outside the church as the funeral began

A man holds a huge wooden cross as he watches the funeral procession from the street

A man holds a huge wooden cross as he watches the funeral procession from the street

Hochul ordered the flags at the New York state capitol at half-staff on Saturday in Diller’s honor.

‘His heroism and dedication to protecting New Yorkers will never be forgotten. Our prayers are with his family, loved ones, and the NYPD as they grieve this senseless loss,’ she said.

Former NYPD Commissioners Bernard Kerik and Keechant Sewell, and former mayor Rudy Giuliani also attended, with Amazing Grace playing before the start of the service. 

Stephanie’s NYPD officer brother Jonathan McAuley, cousin, and another family member were be at the front of the funeral march.

Diller graduated form the State University of New York Maritime College with a degree in marine transportation in 2014, then joined the NYPD in February 2021.

He was recognized for ‘excellent police duty’ three times since joining the force. 

Diller with his widow Stephanie Diller, who will receive a ceremonial flag after the funeral

Diller with his widow Stephanie Diller, who will receive a ceremonial flag after the funeral

Officer Diller, a father of one-year-old boy, was allegedly shot dead by Rivera during a traffic stop on Monday evening

Officer Diller, a father of one-year-old boy, was allegedly shot dead by Rivera during a traffic stop on Monday evening

Diller’s funeral has been relentlessly politicized, mostly by Republicans who used it as an opportunity to accuse Democrats of being soft on crime.

Trump attended the officer’s wake, where he slammed Joe Biden for not attending the wake even though he was only half an hour away.

He also accused his Democrat rival of not backing the police because his liberal supporters ‘won’t let him’. 

Diller was shot after he approached a car that was parked illegally in front of a bus lane, shortly before 6pm Monday.

After Rivera refused to roll down his window or show his hands, he allegedly opened fire on Diller, hitting the young officer under his bullet proof vest.

After Diller’s partner returned fire, both Rivera and Diller were rushed to hospital. The officer was later pronounced dead and Rivera was in a stable condition.

Lindy Jones, who was behind the wheel of the car alongside Rivera, was charged with gun possession and possession of a defaced firearm.

Prosecutors said a search warrant was issued on the vehicle in the shooting, which uncovered a second firearm. 

He was held without bail as officials cited Jones’ history of skipping court dates in the past.

Hundreds of cops also lined the streets as Diller's body was moved to the Massapequa Funeral Home on Wednesday

Hundreds of cops also lined the streets as Diller’s body was moved to the Massapequa Funeral Home on Wednesday 

Officers gathered Friday for Diller's second wake in Massapequa Park

Officers gathered Friday for Diller’s second wake in Massapequa Park

Jones – who has a history of 14 arrests including a 10-year stint in prison on attempted murder from 2003 – refused to talk with detectives since his arrest on Tuesday night. 

Investigators believe Jones and Rivera had been casing out a T-Mobile store before the shooting.

Horrific surveillance footage captured the moment the young NYPD cop writhed in agony on the streets of New York after being shot.

Three loud gunshots can be heard ringing out as bystanders flee for safety. 

Despite being shot, Diller moved the gun away from the shooter after it was dropped on the ground, NYPD Chief of Detectives Joseph Kenny said during a press briefing. 

Following Rivera’s arrest, it emerged that he has a lengthy criminal history including first degree robbery, illegal gun possession and assaults.

He had 21 prior arrests and previously served five years in prison on drug charges before being paroled in 2021.

Suspect Guy Rivera was shot at the scene by Officer Diller's colleague and taken hospital, had 21 prior arrests and previously served five years in prison on drug charges before being paroled in 2021

Suspect Guy Rivera was shot at the scene by Officer Diller’s colleague and taken hospital, had 21 prior arrests and previously served five years in prison on drug charges before being paroled in 2021

Officials say that Jones was behind the wheel of a car that was parked illegally in front of a bus lane, leading Diller and his partner to approach them shortly before 6pm Monday. Pictured: Jones was walked past Diller's photo while exiting the 101 precinct on Wednesday

Officials say that Jones was behind the wheel of a car that was parked illegally in front of a bus lane, leading Diller and his partner to approach them shortly before 6pm Monday. Pictured: Jones was walked past Diller’s photo while exiting the 101 precinct on Wednesday

Hundreds of NYPD officers descended on the Queens courthouse Wednesday to watch the arraignment of Jones

Hundreds of NYPD officers descended on the Queens courthouse Wednesday to watch the arraignment of Jones 

He had also been incarcerated from 2011 to 2014 over a first-degree assault charge.

Jones had 14 prior arrests, including a conviction for attempted murder and robbery in 2003 that saw him serve 10 years behind bars.

He had been arrested on gun charges last April but was released on a $75,000 bail that was set to bring him back to court Monday.

Following Jones’ April arrest, where he was caught with a loaded firearm, Mayor Adams said that he was a prime example of a ‘recidivist problem’ – meaning a small number of perpetrators committing a large number of crimes.

‘Same bad people doing bad things to good people,’ Adams added.

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