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Updated: May 8, 2024, 7:23 AM

Guy Rivera, accused killer of NYPD Det. Jonathan Diller, arraigned in courtroom packed with family, officers

By Anthony M. DeStefano

A Queens man accused of murdering Det. Jonathan Diller in March during a street encounter was arraigned Tuesday on an indictment charging him with killing the Massapequa Park resident, as Diller’s family and scores of NYPD officers packed the courtroom.

In his first court appearance since he was arrested in Diller's death, Guy Rivera, 34, of Woodside, sat silently as his Legal Aid Society attorney, Jamal Johnson, entered the not guilty plea on his behalf to a multi-count indictment before Queens State Supreme Court Justice Michael Aloise.

Rivera, a predicate felon with a number of prior arrests, was charged by the grand jury with first-degree murder, attempted murder, weapons possession and other offenses related to the March 25 evening shooting on a Queens street that took the 31-year-old Diller’s life. The attempted murder charge stems from what police said was Rivera’s failed attempt to fire his handgun at Diller’s partner.

Prosecutor John Kosinski told Aloise that Rivera made one statement to police in the hour after his arrest while hospitalized after being shot by police, acknowledging that he had a knife secreted in his rectum. That disclosure was an indication, New York Police Benevolent Association president Patrick Hendry said later outside the courthouse, that Rivera was a violent man.


  • Guy Rivera, the Queens man accused of killing NYPD Det. Jonathan Diller of Massapequa Park, was arraigned in court Tuesday.
  • Rivera, who is charged with first-degree murder, fatally shot Diller after a street encounter, authorities said.
  • Diller's wife was in the courtroom, along with dozens of NYPD officers, to watch Rivera's arraignment.

In response to concern about the safety of potential witnesses, Aloise issued a protective order limiting disclosure of information about them. Aloise also said that since potential witnesses may have been represented in the past by Legal Aid he was appointing counsel to advise Rivera about potential conflicts of interests that may exist with his future representation.

Rivera, wearing a dress shirt and tie, wore a brace on his right wrist for reasons that were not disclosed in court. He did not speak in court and is being held without bail. Aloise set July 22 as the next court date.

Rivera’s co-defendant, Lindy Jones, who was driving the 2016 Kia Soul both men were spotted in by police on March 25, faces weapons charges in connection with the case but has not been charged with Diller's killing.

According to police, Diller and other cops suspected when they first spotted Rivera walking on the street that his sagging sweatshirt pocket indicated he might be carrying a handgun. Diller then approached Rivera, who was sitting in the passenger seat and tried to get the car door open, which Rivera resisted, said police. Rivera pulled out a gun and shot Diller, then tried to shoot Sgt. Sasha Rosen, who was with Diller, but the gun jammed, according to investigators. Another officer then shot and wounded Rivera.

Rivera faces life without parole if convicted, and Jones, 41, of Edgemere, faces up to 30 years if convicted, Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz said in a statement.

Outside the courthouse, Hendry, accompanied by Diller’s widow, Stephanie, and other family members, as well as a phalanx of uniformed officers, told reporters that Diller fought to the end even when mortally wounded.

“I have a message for every violent recidivist out there, if you attack one of us you attack all of us,” said Hendry. “You will be prosecuted and you will go to jail.”

Hendry said the Diller family was “here supporting the police officers behind us and they are here for Jonathan to make sure his killer stays behind bars.”

Diller was posthumously promoted to detective first grade. The three-year NYPD veteran, who was assigned to the Queens South Community Response Team, is survived by his wife, and 1-year-old son, Ryan.

In one poignant moment after the arraignment, a police supporter outside the courthouse, Cameron Hunt of Harlem, gave Stephanie Diller a large color photograph of her late husband, which she held during the PBA news conference. Hunt, along with his father Calvin Hunt, later taped another photo of Diller and a blue rosette to a light post outside the courthouse as a makeshift memorial.