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Man Charged In EMT's Death Waives Court Appearance As Emergency Responders Show Solidarity

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- A man accused of killing a FDNY emergency medical technician in the Bronx expected to appear in court on Wednesday has waived his appearance, his lawyer said.

Jose Gonzalez's lawyer said he was in poor physical condition, CBS2 reported.

A large crowd of emergency responders lined up outside the courthouse ahead 25-year-old Gonzalez's expected appearance in support of EMT Yadira Arroyo, a mother of five who was killed in the line of duty earlier this month.

"We are here and we will be at every court appearance," Israel Miranda, president of EMS Local Union 2057 said. "We will be pursuing justice and we will not accept anything but justice."

"We want justice, he murdered our sister, justice needs to be served," said EMT Robert Soto, who knew Arroyo.

Gonzalez is being held without bail. He is charged with murder, grand larceny and operation a vehicle impaired by drugs.

Gonzalez, who has more than 30 prior arrests, is accused of stealing Arroyo's ambulance last Thursday.

Arroyo was working an extra shift responding to an emergency when she and her partner were told there was a man hanging on the back of the ambulance, CBS2's Alex Denis reported. When Arroyo and her partner tried to confront Gonzalez, police say he jumped into the driver's seat and ran Arroyo down.

His defense attorney, Alice Fontier, told reporters after his arraignment Friday that what happened in this case was an accident.

"Mr. Gonzalez is severely mentally ill," she said. "Whatever happened in this case was not intentional."

As CBS2's Raegan Medgie reported, it was still too much to bear for Arroyo's partner Monique Williams who was with her that night.

"They were more like sisters. They went to each other's baptisms, bbqs, and everything. This is very difficult for her to be here today," Miranda said.

On Tuesday night, hundreds gathered at Arroyo's EMS station for a candlelight vigil, paying tribute to the EMT.

Arroyo was also a mother of five. Her oldest son, Jose Montes, thanked the crowd for their support.

"She's in my heart, she's in my brother's hearts. You'll see her when you see us," he said.

"I'm sure we can all agree that Yadi would be very proud and we can also agree that even in her death she brings us closer together," FDNY EMS Division 2 Cmdr. Alvin Suriel said.

Arroyo's wake will be from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. and from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. Thursday and Friday at the Joseph A. Lucchese Funeral Home in the Bronx.

Her funeral is set for 11 a.m. March 25 at St. Nicholas of Tolentine Roman Catholic Church in the Bronx.

Gonzalez is expected to be back in court on April 5.

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