Crime

Shots fired at paramedics after they responded to call, cops say

Sarasota police are investigating after shots were fired at paramedics while they responded to a call early Monday morning.

Sarasota County Fire Department crews were sent to a home in the 2900 block of Goodrich Avenue in Sarasota to help a person who fell, according to police. But when the paramedics got to the home around 4 a.m., the resident told them they did not call for help.

As the paramedics returned to their ambulance, they encountered a man across the street, who shot at them, Sarasota Police Deputy Chief Pat Robinson said.

Crews reported a single shot was fired by a person wearing a hooded sweatshirt at the ambulance, according to police.

Police spokeswoman Genevieve Judge later clarified in a news release that the investigation found the paramedics were inside the ambulance when the shots were fired at the closed ambulance door.

The two paramedics were able to get back into the ambulance and drive away while three to five more shots were fired at the ambulance, according to police. Officials said the ambulance sustained minor damage.

The front driver’s side door was struck at least twice, according to police.

No one was injured or struck during the incident.

Police were called to the scene and are still searching for the person who fired the shots before running away.

Though the incident started as a routine call, Sarasota County Fire Department Chief Michael Regnier said they will be in close contact with law enforcement to ensure the safety of their firefighters and paramedics.

“We are doing some processes within the fire department to change the way we respond this morning to make sure our units remain safe,” Regnier said.

Robinson said police will be upping their response to back up paramedics on calls over the next few days.

Robinson said the last time fire department personnel were assaulted or shot at occurred was in the late 1980s or early 1990s.

“A shooting like this, anytime that one of our first responders is assaulted or shot at it is a big deal. That’s not just an assault on the individuals driving that truck, the fire department as a whole, but all first responders. Truly, that’s an assault on the community,” Robinson said.

The investigation is ongoing and police are following up on a number of leads, Robinson said.

Anyone with information is asked to call the Sarasota Police Department at 941-316-1199.

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