First Responders

EMTs Ambushed, Firefighter Shot in Tucson Rampage

July 19, 2021Maggie BenZvi
A shattered window where two EMTs were ambushed by a man who shot five in a rampage Sunday in Tucson. Photo courtesy of KOVA video.

A shattered window where two EMTs were ambushed by a man who shot five in a rampage Sunday in Tucson. Photo courtesy of KOVA video.

A rampage shooter in Tucson, Arizona, shot at least five people Sunday afternoon, including three first responders — two EMTs and a firefighter — and left police frantically searching for three missing children.

Monday, police announced the children had been found and were safe, but authorities had no answers for why a 35-year-old man had unleashed a trail of violence that left two dead.

The chaos began just before 4 p.m. Sunday, when Tucson firefighters responded to reports of a burning home in the southern part of the city. Meanwhile, at a nearby but unrelated medical call, a team of EMTs parked its ambulance near a neighborhood park. As the medics sat in the ambulance, a silver SUV pulled alongside them. The SUV driver then fired at the two medics inside the ambulance. The 20-year-old EMT driving the ambulance was hit in the head and his female partner was hit in the arm and chest. Authorities said the driver was in critical condition and his partner was in stable condition.

The silver SUV then drove to the scene of the house fire, where several fire-engine companies were beginning to battle the flames. There, the man shot at both firefighters and neighbors. One of those neighbors, a 44-year-old man, was shot in the head and died, while a second neighbor was grazed in the head by a bullet.

A Tucson Fire Department captain was hit in the arm.

Police then chased the SUV until it rammed a police car in a nearby intersection. The police officer driving the rammed car shot the SUV driver in an exchange of fire. The suspect, a 35-year-old male, is now in critical condition at Banner-University Medical Center. The officer was not shot.

When firefighters finally extinguished the flames at the home, they found a badly burned body inside. It was unclear whether that death was related to the shootings. Authorities also learned that up to three children lived in the house but were missing. However, by Monday morning, they had been found, according to a tweet from Tucson police.

“This is a highly tragic, really horrific incident with many unknowns,” police Chief Chris Magnus said at a brief news conference Sunday evening.

Fire Chief Chuck Bryan agreed, describing the incident as, “Certainly not anything within the normal realm of experience.”

Read Next: WATCH: Toledo Police Officers Rush Toward Gunfire on July Fourth

Maggie BenZvi
Maggie BenZvi

Maggie BenZvi is a contributing editor for Coffee or Die. She holds a bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of Chicago and a master’s degree in human rights from Columbia University, and has worked for the ACLU as well as the International Rescue Committee. She has also completed a summer journalism program at Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism. In addition to her work at Coffee or Die, she’s a stay-at-home mom and, notably, does not drink coffee. Got a tip? Get in touch!

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