The five sons of Yadira Arroyo, the FDNY EMT fatally run over by a man who stole an ambulance, appeared at their mother's Bronx stationhouse yesterday. The oldest brother, Jose Montes, said, "If you can take something from this, just let it humble you, Learn from this. Learn to hold your family closer every day, because life is short."
At one point, his youngest brother, Isaiah Negron, cried, "I want mommy!"
Arroyo, 44, was killed on Thursday, March 16, after a man, Jose Gonzalez, 25, ran her over with her own vehicle. Gonzalez had apparently been riding on the bumper of the FDNY ambulance, and stole the vehicle when Arroyo and her partner got out to investigate. Gonzalez allegedly tried to get away as he dragged Arroyo's body near Watson and White Plains Road; he was finally stopped by an MTA police officer and a group of Good Samaritans.
According to the Post, Montes also said, "I know there’s a lot of sadness going on today, yesterday and probably for a long time. But I know my mother wouldn’t have wanted people to be sad today... Don’t feel sad, because I know my mom is in a better place right now.”
The Tunnel to Towers Foundation, which was founded in honor of firefighter Stephen Siller who died on 9/11, pledged $100,000 in a trust for Arroyo's sons, and said that all proceeds donated to Tunnel to Towers will go to the family (a press release noted that the foundation "is absorbing all of the administrative costs to ensure that" 100% of donations go to the sons).
A Daily News fundraising drive for the family has earned $40,000.
Gonzalez is charged with murder and is being held without bail. He has nearly three dozen previous arrests and is reportedly a member of the Bloods. His lawyer says he is mentally ill. His father, Jose Gonzalez Sr., said, "I'm devastated, and it's hard - the fact that I'm trying to get him to want to become a working person and try to stable himself out. But there's something about his ID, and how he identifies and how he thinks he's looked upon among his peers."
A wake for Arroyo has been planned for Thursday and Friday, with a Saturday funeral