FORT WORTH, Texas — MedStar’s 250 paramedics and EMTs don't have company-issued bullet-proof vests, but that didn’t stop a trio from rushing back into a hot zone to help two Fort Worth officers injured by gunfire last week.
Along with a student EMT, Tyler Morris, a MedStar paramedic, and Nate Preissinger, an EMT, answered what they were told was a suicide call Friday night in Fort Worth.
"I'm not going to lie, it was a very scary situation, very intense,” Morris said.
Fort Worth police cleared them to enter the crime scene and assess the victim.
"I was walking into the house to make contact with our primary call when gunfire broke out,” Morris said.
"When I first heard it, my initial thought was Tyler,” said Preissinger, who was still near the ambulance with the student EMT when a gunman began firing on police officers from a shed behind the home.
The MedStar team fled and drove away from the home. But then they heard the messages on their onboard computer that told them that two Fort Worth officers had been hit by gunfire.
"Without hesitation we were already turning around to go back,” Morris said.
"I didn't feel like it was even a decision,” Preissinger added. “It was just like this is what we need to do."
"When it's one of your own, the intensity level increases dramatically and we knew that was family that had been shot," Morris said. "Of course, without hesitation, we looked at each other and knew that we were going back."
Fellow officers had already pulled the two injured men to the end of the driveway of the home. With shots still being fired, Morris and Preissinger quickly loaded Officer Xavier Serrano into their ambulance and rushed him to the hospital. He had been shot multiple times, but at last report is now listed in stable condition.
"We had to act fast and move fast and clear the scene and get out of danger,” Morris said.
Rookie Officer Ray Azucena was also shot. He was hit in the chest but saved by a bullet-proof vest.
The danger ended with a gunman dead. The investigation is still underway to determine if he was killed by officers returning fire of if he took his own life. But thanks to fellow officers, and a MedStar team willing to brave gunfire too, the officers survived.
Both men said they'd do it again if needed.
"We're there to help each other,” Morris said. "We're family when it comes to this and we're going to take care of one of our own the best we can."
The Thin Blue Line they’ve had across the back window of their ambulance for the past two years tells you that. And now their selfless life-saving act tells you that, too.
Azucena was released from the hospital soon after the was transported to JPS. Fort Worth police announced Serrano will be released at about 9 a.m. Wednesday.
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