YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – A Youngstown firefighter was shot Monday after responding to a fire. The police believe it was a targeted shooting.
WKBN27 reported the firefighter was identified as Lt. Paul Lutton. He was taken to the hospital for a gunshot wound to the leg. He is expected to fully recover.
The incident began about 9 p.m. Monday. The Youngstown Fire Department’s engine #7 was called to a residential fire.
As crews were leaving the scene at Halleck and Elm Street around 11:30 p.m., shots rang out. Rounds went through the fire truck, hitting Lutton in the leg. Police established a perimeter and K-9 units were called to search the area, but to no avail.
Fire Chief John O’Neill doesn’t think the shooting was random. Police are treating it as a targeted attack.
“I don’t think they were stray bullets. There were a few shots taken, and we have at least two bullet holes in the truck,” O’Neill said. “Now it’s going to be up to the police. Hopefully, the police will get on this and get someone right away and find out what’s going on and why they did it.”
In addition to the round that struck Lutton in the leg, the other round went through the back door, narrowly missing firefighter Dwyain Montgomery. The bullet actually went through his turnout coat, just missing his chest according to O’Neill.
“The firefighter shot in the leg is — I saw him early again this morning — seems to be doing quite well, under the circumstances. A lot of pain, obviously. Hopefully he might get released today if all goes well,” he said.
During the firefighting efforts, police were called to the scene due to a man that kept walking and driving through the area. According to O’Neill, the man exchanged words with some of the firefighters, and the shooting happened an hour or so later.
Investigators have a description of the man in question, but are not sure if he is connected to the shooting. Police are looking for him, while arson investigators are trying to determine who set the house on fire.
O’Neill said the shooting has rattled other firefighters in the department. Until further notice, a Youngstown police squad will accompany firefighters to any fire scene.