Should shooter of Md. firefighter-paramedic be charged with a crime?

Our readers' responses ranged from specific charges to pleas for others to wait for a trial instead of placing blame; where do you stand?


Last Friday, firefighter-paramedic John Ulmschneider and firefighter Kevin Swain were shot after forcing entry into a home for a welfare check. Ulmschneider died from his injures and Swain, 19, is recovering.

We posted our rapid response of the shooting on Facebook, asking readers if the killer of firefighter-paramedic Ulmschneider should be charged with a crime. And if their response was "yes," to explain what crime they deemed fit.

The responses, as expected, ranged from specific charges to pleas for others to wait for a trial instead of placing blame. Here are a handful of our readers' responses.

Where do you stand on the issue? Weigh in below.

1. "Had he shot a police officer, what would the charge be? We knock on doors, call out and announce ourselves in the normal course of any call like this. This is murder; nothing less. EMTs and paramedics are no less vital than PD and assaulting and/or killing one of us should be met with the same outrage and legal jeopardy. This was murder." — Michael Schlechter

2. "I hate these kinds of posts. No one knows the full circumstance and never will. Trial by social media is a terrible thing, especially if the person that shot them is completely innocent." — Drew Hamilton

3. "I'm going to remain quiet on the matter. We just don't have enough information about what was going on." — Tom Steiner

4. "I work for a fire department and ambulance service. I hate this happened, but charges shouldn't be made unless facts show he pre-meditated to kill." — Jonathan Watkins

5. "Manslaughter at best. I am a career EMT in a busy high call volume system. A welfare check is different than a forced entry. A welfare check is entry into a complete unknown without prior contact with a calling party who is at the address. In this case, PD enters first, common sense. I would not have entered prior to PD securing the scene. I'm adding armor to my uniform soon." — Tony Bonura

6. "No one can armchair quarterback a call they were not on! But if the homeowner thought someone was breaking into his home, then he shouldn't be charged! They came into his home." — Meriah Powers

7. "No, he should not be charged. You have every right to protect yourself in your own home." — Charles Anderson

8. "Yes, negligent homicide. Shooting through a door, without knowing that there is an imminent threat to life, makes his actions improper and he should be charged." — Zach Saxman

9. "He shouldn't be criminally charged. Honestly, they made a lot of mistakes and he may not have known the third party called about him." — Daniel Steven Holmes

10. "I don't think all the facts have been told yet. Let's wait and see. Unless imminent injury or illness is apparent, then they should have not breached the premises without a cop on the scene." — Dave Warner

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