'Very Hard' For Massapequa Park Neighbors Of Fallen NYPD Officer

MASSAPEQUA PARK, NY — Neighbors are reeling after learning that an NYPD officer, who lived in Massapequa Park with his wife and toddler, was killed Monday during a traffic stop in Far Rockaway.

Jonathan Diller was 31.

Naomi Sanchez, who did not know Diller, feels a personal connection from a block away.

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“My son is a police officer in Nassau County, so it is very hard,” she said. “I’m quite sure my son knows him and he usually knows police officers in this area.”

Diller was only with the department for three years.

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“It’s very unfair to the police officers who go out there every day to work and they end up giving up their life to protect us,” she said.

News like this hits her like a shockwave.

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“Every day that my son goes to work I pray to God,” an emotional Sanchez said. “He’s always in my prayers. You know they’re going out to work, but you don’t know when they’re coming home.”

Her husband James Bonilla reiterated their love and respect for police, especially in times of tragedy.

“I think of all cops as family. We’ve got the blue ribbon to show our support,” he said.

Police said the passenger got out of a vehicle with the gun and fired, shooting Diller in the torso below his bulletproof vest. Diller’s partner returned fire, striking the suspect.

A second officer was taken to a hospital for treatment of tinnitus, but was not directly hurt from gunfire, NBC4 reported.

Guy Rivera, 34, is accused of firing the fatal shot to Diller; he has a rap sheet with more than 20 arrests in the city, including nine felonies, officials said. Rivera was released from prison in September 2021 after serving nearly five years for criminal sale of a controlled substance, ABC7 reported.

“We have to properly fund discovery rules,” Mayor Eric Adams said. “The district attorneys are saying, what many people are now realizing that there are a large number of cases that are being dropped and dismissed.”

“It’s very sad, and a one-year with no father,” Maria Rocha, a resident of Massapequa Park for 28 years, told Patch.

“It’s going to be a sad moment in the neighborhood. It’ll be one less person in the block party next year,” Bonilla said.

Another neighbor didn’t want to speak but gave his solemn reaction by lifting his American flag on the front lawn to half-staff.

A candlelight vigil will take place on Wednesday night at Brady Park, just blocks from the Diller home.

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