TEMPLE HILLS, Md. (AP) — Police are trying to determine why a person opened fire on firefighters who were responding to a call for help at a home in a Maryland suburb of Washington.
A firefighter was shot and killed while making a welfare check and another remains in serious condition, officials said. John Ulmschneider, 37, died Friday night, according to Prince George's County Police Department spokeswoman Julie Parker. She said Ulmschneider was a 13-year veteran of the department.
Volunteer firefighter Kevin Swain, 19, also was shot, and was in serious but stable condition after coming out of surgery on Saturday, department officials said. Swain, who authorities say was shot four times, is expected to survive.
Firefighters and police had gone to the Temple Hills home after being called by a person concerned the individual inside might be suffering from a medical condition, Prince George's County police Chief Henry P. Stawinski III said at a news conference.
When they arrived on the scene, the person inside was unresponsive, so they decided to force entry, he said. As that was happening, the person inside fired several rounds, striking two firefighters and the person who had initially made the call for a welfare check.
Stawinski said that once officers got into the home, the gunfire stopped. He said no officers fired weapons.
"Will it ever end? God, I hope so," Stawinski said.
Diana Krieger, whose daughter is married to Ulmschneider's brother, told The Washington Post that he was a "caring man" who had dreamed of being a firefighter since high school.
"He wanted to help others, he loved doing what he was doing, being a paramedic and a firefighter, and I really believe that he was doing God's work," Krieger told the newspaper.
The civilian was not seriously injured, according to the police chief. The person who was inside the home was in custody and cooperating with police, Stawinski said. Their identities were not immediately available.
"The main thing that we ask for the men and women of Prince George's County are your prayers, your thoughts," said Prince George's County Executive Rushern Baker.
Two other firefighters with the Morningside Volunteer Fire Department suffered minor injuries while seeking cover after the shooting. He says one firefighter injured a knee and the other injured her jaw. The two were treated at the hospital and released Saturday.