Ultimate sacrifice: Cop shot and killed in Queens during gun battle with suspect

Officers weep outside hospital
NYPD officers embrace, some in tears, at Jamaica Hospital after a police officer arrived there after being shot on March 25, 2024.
Photo by Dean Moses

An NYPD officer in Queens died hours after being shot Monday afternoon in an apparent firefight, police officials announced Monday evening.

Police Officer Jonathan Diller, 31, a three-year member of the NYPD Critical Response Team, was wounded during the gun battle with the suspect on Beach 19th Street and Mott Avenue in Far Rockaway, within the 101st Precinct’s confines, on March 25. 

Law enforcement officials said Diller, who lived in Massapequa on Long Island, was conducting a vehicle stop involving the suspect before the shots rang out. He died hours later at Jamaica Hospital after undergoing emergency surgery.

“We lost Jonathan tonight,” a desultory Mayor Eric Adams said at a press conference Monday night announcing the officer’s death. “We cannot say it any clearer; it is the good guys against the bad guys, and these bad guys are violent. They carry guns, and the symbol of public safety, a police uniform, they have total disregard for.”

Police Officer Jonathan Diller
Police Officer Jonathan Diller was killed in the line of duty in Queens on March 25, 2024.Photo courtesy of NYPD
NYC Police
A massive police presence in Far Rockaway, Queens after a cop was shot on March 25, 2024.Photo by Lloyd Mitchell

Police Commissioner Edward Caban outlined the preliminary details of the shooting investigation noting that Diller and his partner stopped a vehicle with two men inside on Mott Avenue at about 5:48 p.m. on March 25. 

After the officers approached the vehicle, Caban explained, one of the individuals, a passenger, pulled out a firearm and pointed toward the officers. Within seconds, shots rang out, and one of the bullets struck Diller in the abdomen — the slug hitting him just underneath the bulletproof vest he wore.

Diller’s partner returned fire, striking the passenger in the back, police officials said.

“I saw two people shot, the cop was screaming, ‘I am hit, I am hit, send help!’” said one witness, Deion Peters, who spoke with amNewYork Metro at the scene.

Police in Queens at scene where cop was shot
A massive police presence in Far Rockaway, Queens after a cop was shot on March 25, 2024.Photo by Lloyd Mitchell

Police and EMS swiftly set up a transportation route to get the wounded Diller to Jamaica Hospital, where he underwent emergency surgery. Numerous officers arrived at Jamaica Hospital waiting to hear more about the wounded officer. Mayor Eric Adams also rushed to the medical center to visit the cop.

Despite the medical team’s valiant efforts, the officer died a short time later.

“This evening, on a Queens street, a uniformed New York ciyt police officer was shot doing the job we asked him to do,” an emotional Caban lamented. “He put himself in harm’s way. He went toward the danger to keep the people we serve safe, and to protect his fellow New Yorkers.”

Police Commissioner Edward Caban
“He put himself in harm’s way. He went toward the danger to keep the people we serve safe, and to protect his fellow New Yorkers,” Police Commissioner Edward Caban said of the slain Officer Jonathan Diller.Photo by Dean Moses
Mayor Eric Adams
Mayor Eric Adams announces the death of Police Officer Jonathan Diller at Jamaica Hospital on March 25, 2024.Photo by Dean Moses

EMS also rushed the wounded suspect, who had been shot in the back, to Jamaica Hospital; his condition is not yet known.

Meanwhile, the driver of the vehicle was brought in for questioning. According to Chief of Detectives Joseph Kenny, the driver of the vehicle was previously arrested on a gun charge in April 2023, but was somehow on the street Monday at the scene of an officer’s murder.

“This is what you call not a crime problem; a recidivist problem,” Mayor Adams added. “The same bad people doing the same bad things to good people. Less than a year, he’s back on the streets with another gun.”

Information about the shooter’s record was not yet available.

‘Stayed in the fight’

The firearm allegedly recovered at the scene in Queens where a police officer was shot and killed on March 25, 2024.

Officer Diller had been with the NYPD for three years and had made over 70 arrests during his brief time with the department, Chief Kenny said. Right after he had been shot, the chief noted, Diller “stayed in the fight and was trying to unarm the person that had just shot him.”

“The gun hit the ground, and as the perp was still reaching for it, this officer was able to grab it, although he was still shot,” Kenny noted.

Patrick Hendry, president of the Police Benevolent Association (PBA), the city’s largest police union, urged New Yorkers to pray for Diller’s family and railed against those who attack cops.

“Our heroic police officer confronted this dangerous individual, knowing that he was putting himself at risk, knowing that heh ad a family waiting for him at home. But he did it to protect the people of this city,” Hendry said. “Why did this violent individual with a gun have no fear to shoot a New York City police officer? Why did he feel he could shoot a New York City police officer? These attacks on New York City police officers have to end now.”

In the days to come, the NYPD and the city will honor Officer Diller’s sacrifice, and rally around his family in their mutual time of mourning.

“There will be plenty of time for anger, grief and for processing pain,” Caban noted. “But right now, our prayers are with the fallen officer’s family.”

With reporting by Lloyd Mitchell

This story was updated on March 25 at 9:35 p.m.

Police officers outside the Jamaica Hospital emergency room after a cop was shot on March 25, 2024.Photo by Dean Moses
Police officers line up outside Jamaica Hospital.Photo by Dean Moses




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