FORT WORTH, Texas - When two Fort Worth police officers were shot Friday night, it wasn’t just police who rushed in to help. Firefighters and paramedics also rushed to the scene to help in any way they could.
MedStar Paramedic Tyler Morris and EMT Nate Preissinger rolled up to the house near I-20 and Granbury Road around 8:30 p.m. Friday, mentally prepared to find a person shot dead inside. Instead, they heard gunshots as they got out.
Overwhelmed with adrenaline, the partners went back to the ambulance for cover.
"We knew we were in immediate danger,” Morris said.
They radioed "shots fired" and drove a couple blocks away to stage, as they've been trained to do until police disarm the threat. But then, they heard “officer down” over the scanner.
"We didn't talk, we just knew,” said Preissinger. “We looked at each other, and we knew we were going back."
Other officers had moved the two officers who'd been shot, Ray Azucena and Xavier Serrano, closer to the street and away from a shed where the shooter had been hiding.
Police in tactical gear surrounded both Morris and Preissinger so they could move in.
"The unity and the synergy that they displayed doing that was so intense,” said Morris. “It was amazing to see."
The paramedics ripped off Serrano's bullet proof vest, started administering aid and got him on a cot. He'd been shot in the torso, arms and shoulders.
Within a minute, Serrano was in their ambulance and en route to JPS Hospital with police escorting them and shutting down entrance ramps on the freeway.
"It was one of the easiest drives to the hospital I've ever done even though it was one of the most intense,” said Preissinger.
Once it was known that both officers would survive, Officer Serrano asked to see the paramedics who helped him. He wanted to thank them.
That meant everything for Preissinger and Morris.
"That's why we do this,” said Preissinger.
Another officer stopped Morris and gave him a badge.
"To me, I could never have more of a display of gratitude given to me from anybody else,” said Morris. “So forever I'll hold onto this patch."
Police believe Martin Fleece shot and killed his father, Carl Fleece, before hiding in a shed out back. Investigators say when the officers opened the shed, Martin shot at them, and the officers fired back.
Police say Martin shot himself in the head and was not struck by police bullets.
The paramedics are quick to credit Fort Worth firefighters in helping to save the wounded officers.