A Maryland homeowner accused of shooting two firefighters as they tried to enter his home has been indicted on several gun charges, but not the fatal shooting itself, law enforcement sources.
The firefighters had forced their way into the man’s home in Temple Hills, Maryland, at the request of the man’s brother, who feared the man was having a medical emergency.
But when the firefighters got inside, the man opened fire with a handgun, police said. One of the firefighters, 37-year-old Firefighter-Paramedic John Ulmschneider, died.
Law enforcement sources said Thursday the homeowner was not legally allowed to own guns due to a previous assault charge in the past.
Police have said the homeowner believed his house was being broken into and fired in self defense. Ulmschneider was the first person inside the home. The 13-year veteran of the department was fatally shot. Volunteer Kevin Swain, 19, survived after he was shot four times.
“They acted in a crisis situation, and I believe they did everything right that night with the information that they had,” Prince George’s County Fire Chief Marc Bashoor said.
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Bashoor said in the wake of the shooting that the fire department would make changes to try to prevent similar tragedies from happening again. According to current protocol for welfare checks, firefighters typically will wait for police if there is no indication of an emergency, he said.
However, in this case, the homeowner’s brother had indicated a possible diabetic crisis, Bashoor said.
Angela Alsobrooks, state’s attorney for Prince George’s County, previously said prosecutors would have to assess whether the homeowner believed he was in danger, and whether his belief and actions were reasonable in the mind of an ordinary person.