Watch CBS News

Fallen NYPD Officer Jonathan Diller honored across New York City, Long Island

Fallen NYPD Officer Jonathan Diller's L.I. hometown holds candlelight vigil
Fallen NYPD Officer Jonathan Diller's L.I. hometown holds candlelight vigil 02:33

NEW YORK -- A man involved in a police officer-involved shooting that left a Queens cop dead is now charged with criminal possession of a firearm.

NYPD Officer Jonathan Diller was shot and killed during a traffic stop on Monday.

From Queens to Massapequa Park on Long Island, where the cop lived, communities are honoring his life.

Tributes for Officer Diller across New York, Long Island

People in Far Rockaway stopped by frequently Wednesday morning to pay tribute at a growing memorial outside 101st Precinct. Some dropped off candles, stopped to take pictures, and left flowers while having a moment of silence for Officer Diller, who died in the line of duty.

A woman named Rosanne stopped by the precinct and said, "You're leaving a family without a son, without a father, without a husband, and for what?"

On Wednesday afternoon, members of the Massapequa Park community were to put up ribbons honoring their hometown hero. Diller, 31, was a husband, a father to a 1-year-old son, and a three-year NYPD officer. Many are mourning his death.

"He was a police officer that loved doing his job," Police Benevolent Association President Patrick Hendry said.

What NYPD Officer Diller's shooting death means for department, law enforcement expert explains 04:45

The tragic life-ending event unfolded on Monday evening in Far Rockaway. Officer Diller conducted a traffic stop with his partner for an illegally parked car when chaos broke out.

Video shows officers rushing Officer Diller into a vehicle headed to the hospital, where he later died. The NYPD said a bullet struck Diller in the torso, just below his vest.

"These officers are putting their lives on the line for us every single day. And even [Diller], if he was at home and needed an officer, he would have been there for him so why would you kill that man?" Roseanne said.

From fundraising for baby supplies to blue ribbons, the Massapequa community is united right now in one mission:  to let the Diller family know they are not alone.

A thin blue line was painted down Merrick Road, where thousands are expected to gather Saturday for Diller's funeral in the heart of Massapequa -- a heart that's broken.

"Our officers go to work every day and don't know if they're going to come home and, unfortunately, Officer Diller not coming home," Massapequa resident Liz Franks said.

"We've really had it. We need to back our blue, back our police officers, not the criminals," said Jeffrey Pravato, former mayor of Massapequa Park. "Officer Diller cannot come home to his beautiful baby and his beautiful wife and family ever again, but we will be here to support that family forever."

That support is visible everywhere -- from the blue ribbons posted by Army of Massapequa Moms to "back the blue" flags flooding this community.

"This is tragedy beyond words and we just want to support the Dillers right now," said Massapequa Moms Administrator Dawn Boyle Kostakis.

Watch Carolyn Gusoff's report

Candlelight vigil held on Long Island for fallen NYPD Officer Jonathan Diller 03:41

Thousands of ribbons are being made with donated materials by the blistered hands of retired florist Laurie Logan, who nearly a decade ago started the somber tradition for another Massapequa son -- NYPD Officer Brian Moore, who was killed in the line of duty at age 25.

"It just lifts everybody back up after being knocked down. This is tough. Massapequa has a lot of police officers and firemen, and we just keep getting hit and hit and hit," Logan said.

"I think about Brian every day, but the thing is, a day like today, it brings it back even more so," said Ray Moore, Brian Moore's father.

Moore has visited with the Diller family.

"It's terrible if it's anybody on the job, but being that it's just a mile a way, it really hits home," Moore said. "I think of this little boy that is going to grow up without a father, a wife without a husband, parents without their child. I know what that is."

Diller is remembered by fellow officers as a "cop's cop," who always put everyone above himself and "knew how to make you laugh and smile."

Diller grew up in Franklin Square, where neighbors say he was the first to volunteer to help.

"Just an all around great family," neighbor Ronald Benevento said. "I was up on the ladder, and he was the one that climbed up on the ladder to clean my gutters, I didn't. So you know, things like that."

Candlelight vigil held to remember Officer Diller

A candlelight vigil for Diller was held Wednesday evening at Brady Park.

There was a strong show of support for the Diller family.

They stood together in the somber rain, trying to make sense of Diller's untimely death.

"Our hearts are broken. There is no words that any of us can say that would make anything make sense," one person said.

"It could have been me, it could've been any one of my friends, and we survived it, but we feel bad for him. We hope the family endures and does well, and we pray for them," retired NYPD officer Larry Burns said.

With tears in his eyes and a very heavy heart, Diller's brother-in-law Joseph Lienhop found the courage to talk about the man who gave it his all.

"Jonathan taught me what a family truly is," Lienhop said. "He was crazy about his job. He loved what he did. He was a cop. He was born to be a cop. He was born to be a hero. OK? He was born to be a hero. He died being a hero. He died doing what he loved."

Diller's family is trying to cope with the unbearable loss, and for some, anger was also part of the sorrow.

"The laws that are in place are not working and they must be changed. Hopefully this will bring awareness to the problem that's going on," Burns said.

"How many more cops have to die? How many more innocent people have to die?" Levittstown resident Joanne Archer said.

A wake for Diller is planned for Thursday and Friday, followed by a funeral service on Saturday.

Former President Donald Trump says he will be attending the wake Thursday afternoon, and we've learned he has also spoken with Diller's widow by phone.

Suspect involved in deadly shooting faces judge

Lindy Jones, the alleged driver of the vehicle in that traffic stop, is now charged with criminal possession of a loaded firearm and possession of a defaced weapon.

Jones has a prior record that includes an attempted murder conviction in 2002 and robbery. We have learned he was out on $75,000 bail for a prior weapons offense.

"He had no business being on the streets. Less than one year [ago], he was arrested for an illegal gun. Two nights ago in a car, he had an illegal gun," Hendry said.

Hundreds of NYPD officers were at Queens Criminal Court on Wednesday for Jones' arraignment -- so many of them an overflow room was needed.

Jones, of Edgemere, was walked into the courtroom handcuffed. The 41-year-old did not look at anyone in the gallery. He was arraigned on weapons charges.

Watch Alice Gainer's report

Driver of vehicle involved in NYPD officer's death arraigned on weapons charges 03:11

Around noon, Jones was led out of the 101 Precinct to a crowd that included disgusted community members.

"Shame on you, young man," one person shouted.

The man accused of shooting Diller, meanwhile, was shot in the back and is currently in a hospital recovering.

Police searched the car and say they found a loaded 9mm gun inside the glove compartment with tape on the handle and the serial number scratched off.

In court, prosecutors say Jones made statements during questioning saying he was "picking up a hitchhiker and didn't know the passenger in his car" and that there was "another gun in the car, I think they found it, that's why I'm still here."

Jones will be back in court on Friday. He faces up to 15 years in prison if convicted, in addition to 15 years on a separate weapons charge from last year.

The alleged shooter faces possible murder and weapons possession charges.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.