Many gun enthusiasts will tell you that having a firearm in the house helps protect you from criminals intent on harm. This weekend in Prince George’s County, a man thought he was doing just that–and now one firefighter is dead and another is seriously injured.
As Reuters reports, the shooter’s brother had called emergency services, requesting a welfare check on him–he was known to be diabetic, and hadn’t been heard from in a few days. Firefighters, who often respond to such welfare checks, showed up at the guy’s house, along with the brother. They identified themselves and pounded on the door loudly; when he didn’t answer, they began forcing the door open. (According to the department, they were following protocol during the incident.) That’s when the shooter, who has not been identified, opened fire.
John Ulmschneider, a 37-year-old firefighter and medic was killed; Kevin Swain, a 19-year-old volunteer firefighter is still in the hospital; and the shooter’s brother, who has not been identified either, was shot in the shoulder, but the injury wasn’t life-threatening.
The police seem to believe the shooter’s story, and have released him. “The way we’re looking at it now is it’s a terrible, terrible tragedy for everybody involved,” PGC Fire spokesman Mark Brady said.