Who Was Jonathan Diller? NYPD Cop Shot Dead by Career Criminal With 21 Prior Arrests During Queens Traffic Stop

NYPD Chief of Detectives Joseph Kenny said Rivera "was asked to leave the car, he was given a lawful order numerous times to step out of the vehicle, he refused."

A 31-year-old NYPD cop was fatally shot by a career criminal with 21 prior arrests during a traffic stop in Queens on Monday evening in a "senseless act of violence," authorities and sources within law enforcement said. Officer Jonathan Diller, 31, was just three years on the force when he was shot and killed while asking a driver about parking at a bus stop.

Diller was shot in the stomach while police were trying to remove the suspect, identified by sources as Guy Rivera, from the passenger seat of a car near 19-19 Mott Avenue in Far Rockaway, according to the NYPD and sources. Diller soon died from his injuries.

Killed While Doing His Duty

Jonathan Diller
Jonathan Diller X

Diller fell to the ground and cried out that he had been "hit" after the suspect opened fire, according to witness Deon Peters. "He was moving, he was saying 'I'm hit, I'm hit!' Giving location and all that," Peters said. "Like he was crying, like he was really crying."

Diller was quickly taken to Jamaica Hospital in critical condition, where he was later pronounced dead.

Guy Rivera
Guy Rivera X

"Tonight this city lost a hero, a wife lost her husband, and a young child lost their father," NYPD Commissioner Edward Caban wrote on X. "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.

"Our prayers are with his family, loved ones, and brothers and sisters in blue."

The assailant had a history of being jailed for drug-related and violent crimes and was arrested for a gun-related offense as recently as April of last year, just yards away from the location of the fatal shooting.

Diller leaves a young widow, Stephanie, and a one year-old son at his home in Long Island.

Shot Out of Nowhere

The tragic incident unfolded around 5:50 p.m. when Diller, along with a colleague, was on duty in Far Rockaway as part of the NYPD Critical Response Team, focusing on combating car-related crimes.

Jonathan Diller
Jonathan Diller with his son X

When they requested the 34-year-old suspect to exit the vehicle, he declined and instead pointed a gun at the officers, firing and striking Diller in the stomach just below his bullet-resistant vest.

NYPD Chief of Detectives Joseph Kenny said Rivera "was asked to leave the car, he was given a lawful order numerous times to step out of the vehicle, he refused."

"And when the officer took him out of the car, instead of stepping out of the car he shot our officer."

Despite being shot, Diller bravely managed to disarm the shooter when the gun fell to the ground, as per Kenny's statement.

Diller's partner returned fire, hitting Rivera, who has 21 prior arrests, in the back, according to sources. The suspect was also taken to Jamaica Hospital, where police said his condition was not immediately known.

Jonathan Diller
The gun used by Guy Rivera to shoot dead Jonathan Diller X

"We lost Jonathan tonight," Mayor Eric Adams said during the solemn press conference at Jamaica Hospital.

"I can't not say it any clearer: It is the good guys against the bad guys and these bad guys are violent," he added, calling the fatal shooting a "senseless act of violence."

Both Rivera and the driver of the car, identified by sources as 41-year-old Lindy Jones, had criminal histories, as per records and sources, the New York Post reported.

Rivera was most recently released from a New York prison in 2021 after serving a five-year sentence for criminal possession of a controlled substance, according to state records. His parole in that case ended last year.

Jones, with 14 prior arrests, was convicted of attempted murder and robbery in 2003, according to records. He served a ten-year prison sentence and was released in 2013.

As of late Monday night, no charges had been announced against either Rivera or Jones.

Kenny stated that both individuals have connections to people in Queens, but the exact relationship between the two men was still under investigation.

In the aftermath of the shooting, police were seen rushing from all directions, according to witness Peters.

"Never saw something like that before in my life," he said. "Hopefully don't see it again."

Diller was also a member of the Community Response Team within the Patrol Borough Queens South.