Hundreds Attend Candlelight Vigil For Fallen Officer Jonathan Diller

Top 5
Hundreds attended a candlelight vigil in honor of fallen NYPD Officer Jonathan Diller in Massapequa Park on Wednesday.
Photo by Michael Malaszczyk

A memorial candlelight vigil was held Wednesday night in Massapequa Park to honor fallen New York City Police Officer Jonathan Diller, who was killed while performing a traffic stop on Monday evening.

Officer Diller, who was from Massapequa Park, approached a vehicle that was illegally parked in front of a bus stop, and instructed the two people in the car to step out. The passenger, Guy Rivera, refused, and fired a pistol at Officer Diller. Diller was taken to a nearby hospital, and died of his injuries.

The vigil was held at Brady Park in Massapequa Park. Officials including Nassau County Executive Bruce Blakeman, New York City Police Commissioner Edward Caban, and Massapequa Park Mayor Daniel Pearl were in attendance, and hundreds of Nassau residents came to pay their respects to Diller.

“He was crazy about his job,” Joseph Lienhop, Diller’s brother-in-law, told the crowd. “He loved what he did. He was a cop. He was born to be a cop, he was born to be a hero. He died being a hero. He was crazy about his friends; no matter what, no matter what his schedule looked like, he helped out his friends. He was crazy about his family. Family was number one in his life, his sister, his brother, his mother, his wife, and his son Ryan. He taught me how to be a better person, how to be better for his sister. I will forever be a better person because of him.”

Lienhop vowed to support Diller’s family, as did the officials from Nassau County in attendance.

Joseph Lienhop, brother-in-law of NYPD Officer Jonathan Diller.Photo by Michael Malaszczyk

“I want the deluxe family to know tonight we start to keep our promise to never forget,” Nassau County Police Commissioner Patrick Ryder said. “We will be there whenever that family asks. We will come to those parties, to functions, to make sure that you have what you need when you need it.”

Massapequa High School students sang the national anthem. Saladino and Blakeman both spoke of the need to support the Diller family and the entire law enforcement community following the tragedy. Nassau County police Chaplain Gerard Gordon and Rabbi Yona Edelkopf led the opening and closing prayers, respectively.

“We will always be here for the Diller family,” Thomas Shevlin, president of the Nassau County PBA, said. “I know that you’re hearing that a lot. But you are going to get sick and tired of all of us because we are your new family for life. We promise that. God bless you, NYPD police officer Jonathan Diller. May you rest in peace. We love you.”

Both Rivera and his driver, Lindy Jones, had numerous prior arrests – 21 for Rivera, 14 for Jones – including a gun charge for Rivera in April of 2023.

“We have to reverse a number of the laws have been passed in the last several years, whether it’s bail reform, whether it’s the fact that you have violent criminals back on the streets, we need stricter sentences,” former U.S. Rep. Peter King told the Press. “We can’t just have a revolving door of justice. The wo people involved with this murder, I think, had over 30 years in jail between the two of them.”

Officer Diller, who had been with the NYPD for three years, leaves behind his wife and nine-month-old son. Records from the Suffolk County Department of Civil Service indicate that Diller may have wanted to become a Suffolk County police officer.

From left: Nassau County PBA President Thomas Shevlin, NYPD Commissioner Edward Caban, Nassau Police Commissioner Patrick Ryder, Nassau County Executive Bruce Blakeman, Town of Oyster Bay Supervisor Joseph Saladino, and Massapequa Park Village Mayor Daniel Pearl.Photo by Michael Malaszczyk