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‘Wrong place, right time’: Va. EMS officers drive into graduation shooting scene

Richmond County EMS officers were on their way to a graduation when they came upon the shooting outside a Richmond theater


Richmond County Department of Emergency Services/Facebook

By Bill Carey

RICHMOND, Va. — Two Richmond EMS officers found themselves unknowingly arriving on the scene of a shooting when they were intending to be at a graduation ceremony. Seven people were shot, two fatally, outside a downtown theater on June 6, where a high school graduation ceremony had just ended. 

Richmond County EMS Lieutenant Erin Koller and her fiancé, Richmond County EMS Chief Mitch Paulette, were in the area headed to her sister’s graduation at a different location, News on the Neck reported.

Paulette said they first thought a fight had broken out after seeing people outside of the theater running and screaming. When they saw a Richmond police officer with a rifle, they knew it was more than a fight. Paulette described it as being in the “wrong place at the right time.” 

Paulette got out of their vehicle and announced himself as a medic. He was led to where a firefighter was performing CPR on a victim. Paulette took over CPR and assisted in transporting the patient to the hospital. Paulette returned and spent time assisting other patients and helping with rehab operations before reuniting with his family.

Koller meanwhile had sheltered a grandmother and grandson in her vehicle and took them to a safe space where they reunited with their family, News on the Neck reported.

Interim Richmond County Administrator Hope Mothershead praised Paulette for his actions, “I just wanted to point out that the heart, the willingness, and the skill of Mitch and our other providers in Richmond County is just pretty impressive,” News on the Neck reported. “To be there in that area, and to jump out of his car and go help, and do whatever he could do for those victims, I really appreciate that, Mitch.”

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