News: Long Island Medic Shot While Assisting
(Long Island, N.Y.) A twenty-year-old volunteer firefighter named Justin Angell was shot while trying to assist a man who crashed into a utility pole. The incident occurred around a quarter to ten last night in a quiet and residential area in Bellmore. Angell, along with a team from Bellmore's Fire Department, was fired at while approaching the man's Ford-150 pickup truck at the scene of the collision.
Angell and his colleagues were the first responders, and were simply approaching the vehicle to check for serious injury and to help the victim into the ambulance. They received an emergency call from a neighbor who assumed an intoxicated driver had crashed into the pole, which landed in the middle of the street as it severed. They were greeted by a round of gunshots from a handgun and were forced to take cover behind the truck before Nassau County Police arrived at the scene; police were forced to shoot and kill the driver.
The incident occurred on Bellmore Avenue near the Claxton Avenue intersection, where the man had been traveling northbound. As of this morning, roads have been closed for investigation. Neighbors claim to have heard at least twenty gunshots which sounded like fireworks before it ended; it's unsure whether the driver intended for a suicide by cop.
The chief of Bellmore's Volunteer Fire Department was present at the scene along with Angell, who was the volunteer medic for the squad. The crew wound up putting Angell in the ambulance where they rushed him to the Nassau University Medical Center in East Meadow. He's currently in stable condition in the Intensive Care Unit.
Reports stated that multiple weapons were found in the vehicle, including a TEC-9 and handguns. The vehicle was caved in at the front where the pole split in two, causing power outages in the nearby area. With power crews at the scene, most of the outages were restored quickly; those in the immediate area were still out as of this morning.
Witnesses say that the car tried to flee from the scene after the collision. It traveled about thirty feet before stalling in the middle of the road. Nassau County's Seventh Precinct and Canine Unit were the ones to tend to the incident. Bellmore's Fire Department consists of a hundred firefighter and medic volunteers.
Angell has been a firefighter with the Bellmore Fire Department for the last two years and is currently at Junior Firefighter status. He graduated Mepham High School in Bellmore and also works as an Emergency Medical Technician at Brentwood's Legion Ambulance. His Facebook post stated that he was recovering, still in shock, and grateful for all of the support he was receiving.
The identity of the driver has not been released by authorities. Since the investigation is ongoing, police are still unsure about the motive behind the man's decision to fire at the emergency team designed to help him. Workers in similar fields are outraged over the type of potential danger they face daily. Some say that police are supposed to arrive at the scene prior to firefighters in order to prevent such incidents from occurring. Because police are armed in the way firefighters aren't, another issue is whether firefighters should carry weapons while responding to an emergency situation. Perhaps if they were armed, they could have prevented the driver from shooting as much as he did at the emergency team. The fact remains that the man in this story was lucky to suffer minimal injury.
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