At least two people have been killed, and several wounded, after the driver of an SUV targeted EMT’s and other first responders.
According to Tucson, Arizona Police Chief Chris Magnus, the Tucson Fire Department was called to a reported house fire at around 3:45 p.m. on July 18, in a neighborhood southeast of downtown Tucson. An AMR ambulance crew was nearby, and also responded to the fire.
Soon after the paramedics arrived, a man in a silver SUV drove past the home and began shooting, firing multiple shots into the driver’s side of the ambulance, and striking both paramedics inside.
One paramedic, 20, was rushed to the hospital with a gunshot wound to the head, while the other paramedic, 21, was struck in the arm and is expected to be okay. One of the paramedics was able to call for help immediately after the shooting, and provided the police with a description of the suspect’s vehicle.
Authorities say that the suspect later returned to the scene of the crime a second time and continued his shooting rampage, this time hitting three people: a captain with the Tucson Fire Department, who was shot in the arm and is expected to be okay; a neighbor, 44, who passed away after being shot in the head, and another neighbor, who was grazed by a bullet and is expected to be okay.
According to reporting by ABC 15, “the suspect, described as a 35-year-old man, has been taken to the hospital in critical condition after exchanging gunfire with a Tucson police officer.”
Inside the burned house that brought the first responders onto the scene, a body was found. Police say that, due to the condition of the body, investigators have so far been unable to determine the deceased’s age or gender.
After the shooting, Tucson Mayor Regina Romero released a statement on Twitter, writing:
“I ask our entire Tucson community to join me in thinking about and praying for the victims of this afternoon’s fire and shooting by Silverlake Park, including first responders from AMR and the Tucson Fire Department. This was a horrific and senseless act of violence.”
— Regina Romero (@TucsonRomero) July 19, 2021
Different sources are reporting this story in different ways, and it appears that the details of the incident are still under dispute. According to a different source, the suspect first flagged the ambulance crew down and informed them of the house fire before shooting them, then drove to the scene of the fire and shot the firefighters and neighbors.