TEMPLE HILLS, Md. - The man who shot two Prince George's County, Md. firefighters as they tried to respond to a call for a medical welfare check at his home on Friday night has been released from police custody, and he faces no charges. Firefighter-paramedic John Ulmschneider, 37, was killed, and the second firefighter remains hospitalized.
At about 7:30 p.m., police say the man's brother called 911 when he couldn't reach him, and thought he might have suffered a medical emergency inside the home on Sharon Road in Temple Hills. When no one answered the door at the home, a decision was made to enter the home and check on the man. As the firefighters tried to go inside, the homeowner fired shots through the door, hitting both of them as well as the man's brother-- who had made the call for help.
A source tells FOX 5's Alexandra Limon that the man woke up to hear someone trying to get into the house, and thought it was intruders-- so he opened fire. The source also says police have no reason not to believe him.
Police said Saturday evening that the man had been released from custody, and no charges had been filed at this time. They added that the incident remains under investigation, and asked for anyone who may have additional details to call the Prince George's County Police Department. No other details were immediately given.
There is a chance, according to the source, that the state's attorney's office could press charges, but that it's not likely.
Ulmschneider, a 13-year veteran of the Prince George's County Fire and EMS Department, was shot in the chest and taken to MedStar Southern Maryland Hospital Center, where he later died. The other firefighter injured in the shooting was identified as 19-year-old Kevin Swain, a firefighter for the Morningside Volunteer Fire Department.
According to Prince George's County Fire and EMS spokesperson Mark Brady, Swain sustained multiple gunshot wounds and was flown by helicopter to the University of Maryland Shock Trauma Center in Baltimore where he underwent surgery. He is currently listed in serious condition. On Saturday night, the Sykesville Fire Department tweeted, "Just visited with Kevin. His message to all: "I'm alright."
The man's brother was shot in the shoulder, but that person's injuries are not considered life-threatening.
According to a post by Prince George's County Fire Department spokesman Mark Brady, John “Skillet” Ulmschneider lived in St. Mary’s County. His normal duty assignment is at Landover Hills Fire/EMS Station 830. Ulnschneider leaves behind a wife and 2-year-old daughter.
“Once again, unfortunately, I've got to go before the people of Prince George's County and let them know that we have lost another one of our brave firefighters doing what they do every day,” said Prince George’s County Executive Rushern Baker. “These men and women put their lives on the line, and unfortunately tonight, we lost one of them … This is a sad day in Prince George's County.”
Brady told FOX 5 that since the Fire and EMS Department was formed back in 1970 in Prince George's County, it never had a firefighter shot while on duty until now.
Memorial services to remember him have been finalized.