Authorities are searching for the man responsible for shooting at a fire crew responding to a house fire in Youngstown, Ohio.
The call came in on Monday around 9 p.m. when the Youngstown Fire Department’s Engine No. 7 went to the vacant house. About two hours later, after putting out the fire, the crew was leaving the area when a man standing in a driveway started shooting at the fire truck as it passed, according to reports from local media.
Multiple shots were fired, at least two of which struck the truck. One bullet traveled through the truck’s door and struck the driver, Lt. Paul Lutton, in the leg. A second bullet went through the fire engine’s back door and became lodged in the front portion of another firefighter’s coat, narrowly missing him.
Lutton was transported to the hospital where he was treated and released for what was determined to be a non life-threatening wound. Fire Chief John O’Neill said that although Lutton is in a great deal of pain, he is expected to make a full recovery. The second firefighter, identified as Dwyain Montgomery, was not injured.
O’Neill said they do not believe the shooting was the result of stray bullets, but rather the firefighters were targeted.
While no suspects have been identified at this time, authorities are investigating the possibility that the man who opened fire was the same one involved in an earlier altercation with the firefighters.
O’Neill said police were called to the area about an hour before the shooting after a man repeatedly harassed the firefighters as they worked to put out the fire. In fact, officers were still close by and heard the gunshots.
Although police set up a perimeter and K-9 units were called to the scene, the suspect still got away. Police Capt. Brad Blackburn said they have some leads, but no arrests have been made at this time.
Investigators are working to determine what caused the fire at the vacant house and whether arson was a factor.
Meanwhile, O’Neill said law enforcement will be accompanying firefighters on each and every call until the suspect is captured.