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‘I look up and see a gun pointed at my face': EMT shot in ambulance recounts experience

EMT Richard McMahon praised his partner’s response and said he expects to undergo “a lot of physical therapy but also emotional therapy”


EMT Richard McMahon, who was shot by a patient on Wednesday, greeted supporters as he was released from Richmond University Medical Center in Staten Island on Thursday.

Photo/Gardiner Anderson/Tribune News Service

David Luces
Staten Island Advance, N.Y.

STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. — Three days after he was shot in the back of an ambulance while treating a patient, EMT Richard McMahon said he is in “good spirits” following his release from Richmond University Medical Center.

Now, the 25-year-old — who wrestled the gun away from his alleged attacker — faces a lengthy recovery period before he can get back on the job.

“There’s going to be a lot of physical therapy but also emotional therapy as well obviously, because once the wounds heal, the emotional toll will always be there,” McMahon told the Advance/ “That will be probably be the hardest part.”

The Fort Wadsworth resident said it’s been a “whirlwind couple of days,” but he is now resting, making sure to care for his wounds, and changing his bandages daily. He added he believed it could take a month or more for the wound to heal.

After he is cleared, McMahon will undergo physical therapy to get his strength and mobility back in his shoulder.

“Who knows how long that could take,” McMahon said.


On the night of the shooting, McMahon said his partner, who he declined to identify, was behind the wheel of the ambulance. The pair responded to a call of a disorderly person outside the Funky Monkey Lounge, located at 1205 Forest Ave.

They brought the patient — identified by police as Thomas McCauley — inside the ambulance. Suddenly, all hell broke loose.

“I was taking down the guy’s information on my tablet and happened to look up and see a gun pointed at my face. Sooner than I could react, I heard a loud bang and immediately felt pressure on my left shoulder, got up,[and] screamed, ‘I’m shot! I’m shot!’ to my partner,” McMahon recounted.

“I grabbed his wrists, pointed the gun away from me, disarmed him and took his gun. I waited for my partner to open up the side door. I got out, tossed the gun and laid on the ground.”

McCauley allegedly tried to flee from the back door of the ambulance but was quickly apprehended by retired NYPD detective Marty Graham and Sanitation Department Environmental Police Lt. Joseph Perrone.

McCauley has since been charged with attempted murder and assault.

McMahon said his partner began immediately treating his wounds on the scene before bringing him to RUMC. He praised her for her response during the shooting and immediate aftermath.

“We have a quite a bond, I’m very thankfully for what she did that day,” McMahon said of his partner, who he has worked on and off with for the past four and a half years. “She in her own right is 100% a hero [as well].”


Despite his life-altering experience, McMahon admitted he “honestly loves the job.”

“As crazy as it can be, it’s an awesome job,” he said.

That being said, he wants to bring attention to the dangers EMS workers face every day.

“It is getting dangerous as the years go on,” he said. “I think there are steps that need to be taken to ensure the safety of our EMS workers out there.

“I’m not sure the public is aware how dangerous the job can be and the dangers we face on an everyday basis.”

McMahon proposed some type of reforms, whether its giving workers stab-proof vests, bullet-proof vests or even self-defense training. He also floated the idea of having police officers accompany EMS workers on every call.


McMahon — who credits a strong support system from his EMS family, his immediate family and his girlfriend as helping his recovery — was released from RUMC on Thursday, less than a day after the shooting. He said he was touched by the attention he received during his walk-out ceremony.

“It felt like a dream, it left me speechless,” he said. “It was very emotional for me seeing all those people there and the outpouring of support. It meant the world to me.

“Just knowing that many people supported me and were there for me, it was unbelievable.”


(c)2022 Staten Island Advance, N.Y.