A firefighter was saved by his communication device when a bullet ricocheted off it early Monday after an elderly man opened fire on a crew responding to a medical emergency at a Berkeley home, according to authorities.
The incident took place at 1:45 a.m. when firefighters were responding to a medical call triggered by a medic alert device at a home in the 1200 Dwight Way.
Berkeley Deputy Fire Chief Avery Webb said the man seemed to be upset when firefighters arrived at the home.
“As they were attempting to find out what was going on, offering assistance … a shot was discharged,” Webb said.
“They were inside the home when shots were fired,” said Berkeley police spokeswoman Jennifer Coats. “They were able to get out of the residence…. (Arriving police officers) were able to talk with a male inside who we believe was responsible for shooting at the firefighters… They were able to talk him out of the home.”
The bullet bounced off a pager-like communication that the firefighter was wearing on his belt.
“The device was destroyed but the firefighter was not significantly injured,” Webb said.
Investigators were still trying to determine why the man opened fire.
“We’re not sure if they (the firefighters) were specifically targeted,” she said. “We’re not sure if he was specifically trying to injure the firefighters or if he was just confused…The concern is where they (the firefighters) called here to be intentionally injured or if there was a medical incident that prompted this incident.”
The elderly man was taken from the scene by ambulance to a local hospital for evaluation.
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