Liz Frank, left, and Stacy Nuzzi, both of Massapequa, put...

Liz Frank, left, and Stacy Nuzzi, both of Massapequa, put blue ribbons across the street from the Massapequa Funeral Home, where the remains of NYPD Officer Jonathan Diller were taken. Credit: John Roca

This story was reported by John Asbury, Robert Brodsky, Anthony M. DeStefano, Maureen Mullarkey and John Valenti. It was written by Brodsky

Jonathan Diller's neighbor of 30 years watched the boy next door grow up in Franklin Square, playing hockey, offering a hand to neighbors in need and ultimately becoming an NYPD officer.

When word came that Diller had been killed in the line of duty Monday night, Ronald Benevento felt sick.

“Jonathan did it the right way. He did nothing but help people. And that's what he was all about,” Benevento said. “Just making the community better and being a better person and making everyone better.”

Diller, 31, who joined the force three years ago — around the time he moved to Massapequa Park to start a family — was shot in the torso and killed in Far Rockaway after a confrontation with a suspect involving a vehicle parked illegally in a bus lane.

Across the island Tuesday, friends, neighbors and loved ones remembered Diller as a devoted member of law enforcement, a loving husband to his wife, Stephanie, and doting father to his 1-year-old son, Ryan.

Nancy Ferranola, of Massapequa Park, spent Tuesday hanging blue ribbons and bunting along the street across from Diller’s home.

“It’s what we do as a community and neighbors,” Ferranola said. “This was a senseless, horrific act … He was a true hero in every sense of the word.”

Ferranola recalled watching Diller playing in the front yard with Ryan last weekend and later pushing the boy in a wagon.

“He had a beautiful wife and a young son with their life ahead of them,” she said. “He was a loving father and husband and a great neighbor.”

Diller, who grew up on Rintin Street in Franklin Square, attended H. Frank Carey High School before transferring to a religious school in 2006.

In 2014, Diller graduated from SUNY Maritime in the Bronx with a degree in marine transportation, according to a university spokeswoman.

He joined the NYPD in February 2021 and was assigned to the community response team in February 2024, working out of the 105th Precinct and later the 116th. Diller received a number of awards for exceptional or meritorious police work and accumulated a total of 70 arrests, including 39 felonies, the NYPD said.

Diller married Stephanie McCauley in 2019 at Our Lady of Lourdes Church in Malverne and the couple had their first child last year.

In a Facebook post Tuesday, Jonathan McCauley, Diller's brother-in-law and a member of the NYPD scuba team, expressed the family's heartache and vowed to care for Ryan.

“Jon, there are no words to describe how devastated we are that you are gone,” McCauley wrote. “You were a good man and a great father whose shoes can never be filled. I swear to you that I will look after your son as if he were my own. For the rest of my life.”

NYPD officer Christopher Johnson, who worked alongside McCauley on the scuba team, started a fundraiser Monday night to help offset the family's expenses.

“He was a real great guy and was so excited to be on the job,” Johnson said of Diller.

The Tunnel to Towers Foundation, which provides mortgage-free homes to Gold Star and fallen first responder families with young children, has been in contact with Diller's family and an announcement is expected Thursday, spokesman Trevor Tamsen said.

Members of Diller's family returned home to their well-manicured, Colonial-style house on Charles Avenue Tuesday morning but declined to speak to members of the media. Nassau police were stationed outside the two-story home and limited vehicular access to the street.

Throughout the day, friends and neighbors stopped by the home with flowers, food and condolences for a family just beginning the grieving process.

Naomi Sanchez, who lives down the street from the Dillers, said the officer's death was deeply personal. Her son is a member of the Nassau County Police Department.

“Its very unfair,” Sanchez said, wiping away tears. “Police officers go out there every day to work and they end up giving up their life to protect to us.”

James Bonilla, Sanchez's husband, said the tight-knit community was in a state of shock.

“I'm getting emotional right now because I look at all cops like family,” Bonilla said. “ … It's going to be a sad moment in the neighborhood. It's going to be one less person at the block party next year.”

Andrew Russo, who lives across the street from the Dillers,  recalled the fallen officer's quiet acts of kindness, including shoveling his neighbor's sidewalk after snowstorms.

Massapequa Park Mayor Daniel Pearl said the community, which is known as a hub for first responders, will rally around the Diller family.

“We've always been there for one another,” Pearl said outside Village Hall. “It's just a big extended family … It just breaks my heart to think about it.”

The Town of Oyster Bay, Nassau County and Massapequa Park Village are planning a candlelight vigil Wednesday at 7 p.m. at Brady Park in Massapequa Park to honor Diller.


 

Jonathan Diller's neighbor of 30 years watched the boy next door grow up in Franklin Square, playing hockey, offering a hand to neighbors in need and ultimately becoming an NYPD officer.

When word came that Diller had been killed in the line of duty Monday night, Ronald Benevento felt sick.

“Jonathan did it the right way. He did nothing but help people. And that's what he was all about,” Benevento said. “Just making the community better and being a better person and making everyone better.”

Diller, 31, who joined the force three years ago — around the time he moved to Massapequa Park to start a family — was shot in the torso and killed in Far Rockaway after a confrontation with a suspect involving a vehicle parked illegally in a bus lane.

Across the island Tuesday, friends, neighbors and loved ones remembered Diller as a devoted member of law enforcement, a loving husband to his wife, Stephanie, and doting father to his 1-year-old son, Ryan.

Nancy Ferranola, of Massapequa Park, spent Tuesday hanging blue ribbons and bunting along the street across from Diller’s home.

“It’s what we do as a community and neighbors,” Ferranola said. “This was a senseless, horrific act … He was a true hero in every sense of the word.”

Ferranola recalled watching Diller playing in the front yard with Ryan last weekend and later pushing the boy in a wagon.

“He had a beautiful wife and a young son with their life ahead of them,” she said. “He was a loving father and husband and a great neighbor.”

Diller, who grew up on Rintin Street in Franklin Square, attended H. Frank Carey High School before transferring to a religious school in 2006.

In 2014, Diller graduated from SUNY Maritime in the Bronx with a degree in marine transportation, according to a university spokeswoman.

He joined the NYPD in February 2021 and was assigned to the community response team in February 2024, working out of the 105th Precinct and later the 116th. Diller received a number of awards for exceptional or meritorious police work and accumulated a total of 70 arrests, including 39 felonies, the NYPD said.

Diller married Stephanie McCauley in 2019 at Our Lady of Lourdes Church in Malverne and the couple had their first child last year.

In a Facebook post Tuesday, Jonathan McCauley, Diller's brother-in-law and a member of the NYPD scuba team, expressed the family's heartache and vowed to care for Ryan.

“Jon, there are no words to describe how devastated we are that you are gone,” McCauley wrote. “You were a good man and a great father whose shoes can never be filled. I swear to you that I will look after your son as if he were my own. For the rest of my life.”

NYPD officer Christopher Johnson, who worked alongside McCauley on the scuba team, started a fundraiser Monday night to help offset the family's expenses.

“He was a real great guy and was so excited to be on the job,” Johnson said of Diller.

The Tunnel to Towers Foundation, which provides mortgage-free homes to Gold Star and fallen first responder families with young children, has been in contact with Diller's family and an announcement is expected Thursday, spokesman Trevor Tamsen said.

Members of Diller's family returned home to their well-manicured, Colonial-style house on Charles Avenue Tuesday morning but declined to speak to members of the media. Nassau police were stationed outside the two-story home and limited vehicular access to the street.

Throughout the day, friends and neighbors stopped by the home with flowers, food and condolences for a family just beginning the grieving process.

Naomi Sanchez, who lives down the street from the Dillers, said the officer's death was deeply personal. Her son is a member of the Nassau County Police Department.

“Its very unfair,” Sanchez said, wiping away tears. “Police officers go out there every day to work and they end up giving up their life to protect to us.”

James Bonilla, Sanchez's husband, said the tight-knit community was in a state of shock.

“I'm getting emotional right now because I look at all cops like family,” Bonilla said. “ … It's going to be a sad moment in the neighborhood. It's going to be one less person at the block party next year.”

Andrew Russo, who lives across the street from the Dillers,  recalled the fallen officer's quiet acts of kindness, including shoveling his neighbor's sidewalk after snowstorms.

Massapequa Park Mayor Daniel Pearl said the community, which is known as a hub for first responders, will rally around the Diller family.

“We've always been there for one another,” Pearl said outside Village Hall. “It's just a big extended family … It just breaks my heart to think about it.”

The Town of Oyster Bay, Nassau County and Massapequa Park Village are planning a candlelight vigil Wednesday at 7 p.m. at Brady Park in Massapequa Park to honor Diller.


 

From new rides at Adventureland to Long Island's best seafood restaurants to must-see summer concerts, here's your inside look at Newsday's summer Fun Book. Credit: Newsday Staff

Elisa DiStefano kick-starts summer with the Fun Book show From new rides at Adventureland to Long Island's best seafood restaurants to must-see summer concerts, here's your inside look at Newsday's summer Fun Book.

From new rides at Adventureland to Long Island's best seafood restaurants to must-see summer concerts, here's your inside look at Newsday's summer Fun Book. Credit: Newsday Staff

Elisa DiStefano kick-starts summer with the Fun Book show From new rides at Adventureland to Long Island's best seafood restaurants to must-see summer concerts, here's your inside look at Newsday's summer Fun Book.

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