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April 1, 2024, 4:54 PM

Driver in shooting death of NYPD hero Jonathan Diller admits ‘I shoot people’ as more than 200 cops pack courtroom for ex-cons’ indictment

By Reuven Fenton and Jorge Fitz-Gibbon

More than 200 of New York’s Finest packed a Queens courtroom Monday as two career criminals were indicted in the slaying of hero cop Jonathan Diller during a traffic stop — with prosecutors revealing that the driver admitted, “I shoot people.”

Lindy Jones — who was behind the wheel of the Kia Soul stopped by cops when his passenger, Guy Rivera, allegedly opened fire on Diller last week — didn’t show any emotion as prosecutors said he faces four counts of felony gun possession.

Assistant District Attorney Gabriel Reale said the indictment “relates to a 9mm pistol recovered from the glove compartment of a Kia Soul.

“That Kia Soul was the car that the defendant was driving when his passenger, his now-co-defendant, Guy Rivera, pulled a second .380-caliber firearm and fired, killing Police Officer — and now, posthumously, Detective — Jonathan Diller.”

Rivera, who wasn’t in court and remains hospitalized with a gunshot wound, was indicted on charges of first- and second-degree murder, attempted murder and felony gun possession.

“We live in a society where shooting a police officer needs to be held accountable,” Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz said outside the courthouse. “This is a man who died simply for doing his job. He was a father, he was a son, he was a brother. He went out to do his job one day and never came home.”

Prosecutors said a 9mm handgun was found in the glove compartment of Jones’ car after the shooting — and that he allegedly admitted to cops: “My name is Lindy Jones Jr. and I shoot people.”

Jones, 41, who goes by the street nickname “Killa,” has at least 14 arrests on his rap sheet, including for robbery, assault and attempted murder in a 2001 case in which he was accused of shooting a man three times.

He faces up to 30 years in state prison for his alleged role in Diller’s senseless death.

“My office quoted him saying, ‘I shoot people,’ and that is one reason we do believe he is an amazing flight risk,” Katz said. “He made it very clear that this is what he does — he shoots people.”

Rivera, 34, is also a seasoned criminal with 21 busts under his belt and spent five years in state prison on a drug conviction before he was released in 2021 and completed his parole in 2022.

Diller, a married dad of a 1-year-old boy, was questioning Jones and Rivera after spotting their car parked at a bus stop in Far Rockaway when he was shot below his bulletproof vest, according to police.

Mortally wounded, the young cop grabbed Rivera’s gun while the accused killer was in the midst of a life-and-death fight for the murder weapon with Diller’s NYPD sergeant partner, sources said.

Rivera was wounded in the struggle.

Jones was taken into custody before being hit with the weapons possession charges.

He was out on $75,000 bail on a previous gun possession rap at the time, and Reale said those two cases will be combined.

“This is a career criminal who’s been arrested many, many times, and less than a year ago was arrested for an illegal firearm,” NYPD Police Benevolent Association president Patrick Hendry said of Jones.

“Why was he back out on the streets? He should have been remanded,” he said. “And last Monday, in his car he had another illegal firearm. He is just as responsible for the death of our hero brother as the triggerman.

“Our criminal justice system is broken. We said it many times,” Hendry added. “The change needs to start now in this case. It has to start now.”

Police sources said Rivera and Jones were believed to be planning a robbery and were parked in front of a mobile phone store for at least 10 minutes when they aroused Diller’s suspicion.

Jones tried to wiggle out of trouble by claiming Rivera was a hitchhiker he had just picked up.

“There is another gun in the car,” he allegedly told cops from the 101st Precinct, according to prosecutors. “I think they found it. That’s why I’m here.”

Jones, who wore an orange prison jumpsuit, was remanded into custody at Rikers Island Monday by Judge Gia Morris and is set to be arraigned on the indictment April 16.

His attorney, Murray Singer, did not comment.

Rivera is due in court May 7.

Diller, 31, a three-year veteran of New York’s Finest, was laid to rest after funeral services in Massapequa over the weekend, following a two-day wake that drew hundreds of uniformed officers from throughout the nation and included a visit from former President Donald Trump.

During a moving eulogy, the slain cop’s wife called out city and state pols for their failure to keep violent criminals like River and Long off the streets and protect police officers.

“It’s been two years and two months since Detective [Jason] Rivera and Detective [Wilbert] Mora made the ultimate sacrifice — just like my husband, Jonathan Diller,” Stephanie Diller told mourners. “Dominque Rivera stood before all the elected officials present today pleading for change.

“That change never came,” she said. “And now my son will grow up without his father, and I will grow old without my husband. And his parents have to say goodbye to their child.”

Diller is also survived by the couple’s son, Ryan.