Home News Slain NYPD officer Jonathan Diller saved stabbing victim’s life

Slain NYPD officer Jonathan Diller saved stabbing victim’s life


Before Det. Jonathan Diller was fatally shot in the line of duty late last month, his beat was patrolling the streets of eastern Queens with the NYPD’s Community Response Team. He would, in the course of his career , respond to numerous calls that drew  departmental accolades — including one that saved a young stabbing victim’s life.

On Aug. 23, 2022, Diller and his partner raced to a call on Guy R. Brewer Blvd. near Farmers Blvd. in Springfield Gardens for reports of a stabbing. The cops arrived on the scene and found a 25-year-old man bleeding profusely in a deli, where the victim had stumbled into and collapsed.

Diller staunched the wound until medics arrived and rushed the man to a local hospital. The man survived his injuries, which police sources say is credited to Diller’s quick-thinking, life-saving efforts. The move won Diller recognition for “meritorious police duty” — one of four such accolades the 31-year-old officer would receive in his career.

Hearing that the same officer who’d saved her grandson was the same one who was fatally shot in March came as a shock to the victim’s grandmother.

“I didn’t even know that. That cop?” Lavern Flemings told the Daily News on Thursday. “He the one that saved my grandson? Oh, my God.”

A picture of slain NYPD Officer Jonathan Diller is pictured outside his wake in Massapequa, Long Island on Thursday, March 28, 2024. (Theodore Parisienne for New York Daily News)
A picture of slain NYPD Officer Jonathan Diller is pictured outside his wake in Massapequa, Long Island on Thursday, March 28, 2024. (Theodore Parisienne for New York Daily News)

She said her grandson is “blessed” Diller and his partner answered the call, but doesn’t believe he is aware the slain officer was the one who saved him.

“He kept him from bleeding out, I’m shocked,” said Fleming, 67. “I didn’t even know that. I wonder if he knows that! I don’t think he does [because] if he did, he would’ve been talking about that.”

Fleming said her grandson has since opened up about the stabbing.

“He was crying at one point and he was going through a lot at the time when that happened and he thought he was having bad luck, he was trying to get his life together and stuff like that,” Fleming said of her grandson. “[He] never mentioned about, a cop saved my life.

“He probably don’t remember,” she added. “I guess when you in pain like that you’re not really trying to see who’s doing something for you.”

(Stephanie Diller, wife of Jonathan Diller, is seen at center with their 1yr old son Ryan) Funeral Services for slain 31yr old NYPD Officer Jonathan Diller at the Saint Rose of Lima Catholic Church in Massapequa, Long Island, on Saturday March 30, 2024. 0744. (Theodore Parisienne for New York Daily News)
Stephanie Diller, wife of NYPD Officer Jonathan Diller, is pictured with their son, Ryan, during funeral services for the slain cop at the Saint Rose of Lima Catholic Church in Massapequa, Long Island, on Saturday, March 30, 2024. (Theodore Parisienne for New York Daily News)

Throughout his short career, Diller received three more recognitions for “excellent police duty,” including for an arrest in a burglary committed by a squatter who conned a woman suffering from dementia into living in her basement.

Stanley Sarauw, 71, has been living in his Springfield Gardens home for eight years. He previously lived in the house with his ex-wife, who he claims was swindled by a man looking for a place to live.

“He got her to sign something,” said Sarauw. “He gave her some kind of paper to sign and he signed the house over to him, and he was able to go get a deed in his name.”

Funeral Services for slain 31yr old NYPD Officer Jonathan Diller at the Saint Rose of Lima Catholic Church in Massapequa, Long Island, on Saturday March 30, 2024. 0744. (Theodore Parisienne for New York Daily News)
Funeral Services for slain NYPD Officer Jonathan Diller at the Saint Rose of Lima Catholic Church in Massapequa, Long Island, on Saturday, March 30, 2024. (Theodore Parisienne for New York Daily News)

Sarauw tried to go through legal channels to get the man out of his house, but in January 2022, he says the squatter, who was living in his basement, went upstairs and burgled his home.

Diller and three other officers were called to the robbery in progress at Sarauw’s house, where the young cop spotted the squatter rummaging through a first floor cabinet. It was the third time he’d broken in through a window at the house, according to the homeowner.

“He took the computer and [a Gibson Les Paul] guitar, then he came back for the TV, then he came back for the remote,” Sarauw said.

March 26, 2024: Cop killed in Queens gunfight

Front page for March 26, 2024: In car stop, mortally wounded Finest battles suspect with history of nine felony arrests. NYPD Officer Jonathan Diller was shot and killed after he and partner pulled over two career criminals in Far Rockaway on Monday evening.

New York Daily News

Front page of the New York Daily News for March 26, 2024: In car stop, mortally wounded Finest battles suspect with history of nine felony arrests. NYPD Officer Jonathan Diller was shot and killed after he and partner pulled over two career criminals in Far Rockaway on Monday evening.

Diller and his colleagues arrested the man and helped to get Sarauw’s pricey guitar back, which the crook had sold to a pawn shop. “Cops found the pawn shop ticket on him when they arrested him,” Sarauw recalled.

Diller joined the Police Department in 2021. He was shot and killed, allegedly by 34-year-old gunman Guy Rivera during a traffic stop in the Far Rockaway section of Queens March 25. Rivera is being was held without bail on first-degree murder charges. Also charged was the driver of the car, 41-year-old Lindy Jones, who’s facing weapons charges.

“When I saw his face I said he looks familiar,” Sarauw said of Diller. “I mean all of us are victims really, it’s just you never know when it’s gonna happen to you. They’re out there every day so it’s a little more dangerous for them.”

Police secure a vehicle in front of 1919 Mott Ave. in Far Rockaway, Queens after NYPD Officer Jonathan Diller was fatally shot while making a car stop on Monday, March 25, 2024. (Sam Costanza for New York Daily News)
Police secure a vehicle in Far Rockaway, Queens after NYPD Officer Jonathan Diller was fatally shot while making a car stop on March 25. (Sam Costanza for New York Daily News)

Diller was also recognized for “excellent police duty” after two gun arrests in 2022. The husband and father to a one-year-old boy was posthumously promoted to the rank of detective.

He excelled on patrol in one of the 105th Precinct’s busiest areas before leaving last year to join the Community Response Team, a move his then-commanding officer personally signed off on.

“He was above and beyond everyone else, so that’s why I signed his paperwork and let him go to CRT,” said Inspector Igor Pinkhasov in an interview with the Daily News last week.

“A lot of times you don’t want to lose a good cop,”  Pinkhasov added. “But I say, ‘It’s not a loss, it’s a gain for the Police Department and the community. CRT was looking for highly motivated people — and he was one of them.”

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