NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Jose Gonzalez is being held without bail on charges that he hijacked and ambulance and ran over and killed FDNY EMT Yadira Arroyo.
Gonzalez, 25, could spend the rest of his life in prison if he is convicted in the Thursday attack in the Bronx. CBS2’s Jessica Borg spoke with Gonzalez’s father Saturday evening.
As CBS2 has reported, Gonzalez has had numerous prior run-ins with police before Arroyo’s tragic death. Although there were no serious felonies on his record, there were 31 prior arrests – six of them calls for an EDP or emotionally disturbed person.
Sources told CBS2 Gonzalez was also a member of the Bloods Street gang.
In court Friday, the suspect’s attorney said he was “severely mentally ill,” and claimed that Arroyo was not killed intentionally.
Gonzalez’s father, Jose Gonzalez Sr., told CBS2’s Borg his son suffers from bipolar disorder — and that for years, he’s tried to get him help, but that the system failed him.
Sources said the younger Gonzalez had been living at a supervised residential facility, run by Volunteers of America.
“I tried to get him mandated counseling by the courts, but they closed the door in my face,” Gonzalez Sr. said.
He said he tried to get his son help not during arrests, but “getting him subpoenaed to get mandated.”
Gonzalez Sr. said he has not spoken with his son since his arrest. He said he feels for the Arroyo family and the entire FDNY mourning her loss.
The younger Gonzalez is due back in court this Wednesday.