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Ala. police: Armed patient stole ambulance, died by suicide

Officials say the patient produced a firearm at the hospital, demanded the crew give up the ambulance and then led officers on a pursuit

Need help? Please call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1 (800) 273-8255, or visit to chat with a counselor.

By Laura French

MOBILE, Ala. — A patient armed with a gun stole an ambulance from an Alabama EMS crew and then died by suicide after a pursuit, according to police.

Mobile police officials say Mobile County EMS paramedics and Mobile County deputies responded to a restaurant on Thursday morning, where a man was experiencing heart problems and then became disorderly, according to WPMI NBC 15.

After paramedics transported the man to the hospital, he produced a firearm and ordered the crew to give up the ambulance, Mobile Police Capt. Rodney Greeley said.

Officials say the suspect then drove away in the ambulance and led police officers on a low-speed pursuit, during which spike strips were deployed, deflating the rig’s tires. After the spike strips were used, heat from underneath the rig caused it to catch fire, and officers heard a gunshot.

Officers removed the patient from the rig and began to administer first aid. Lifesaving attempts were unsuccessful and the patient died at the scene. Greeley said no officers discharged their firearms during the incident and the suspect is believed to have died from a self-inflicted wound.

No other first responders or civilians were injured during the incident, Greeley said. Greeley described the patient as “suicidal” but could not say whether he was checked for firearms prior to being transported.