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‘This is a kill shot’: Ben Vernon details his attempted murder on the job

Part 1 — The San Diego Fire-Rescue captain shares the emotional story of how a seemingly “routine call” quickly escalated to a near-fatal stabbing

Please note, this episode includes descriptions of violence, including video of an attack, that may be triggering for some, as well as explicit language.

“To witness in real time an attempted murder is pretty intense,” says San Diego Fire-Rescue Captain Ben Vernon recalling the first time he saw slow-motion body camera footage of his own stabbing during a seemingly “routine” medical call. No one expected that a bystander would turn violent, leaving Vernon and his partner with serious injuries. Vernon offers a detailed play-by-play of the incident, from his initial complacency about the call through its quick escalation and ultimately to his emotional recollection of seeing his wounded partner and being rushed to a local hospital. Vernon also shares the moment during his recovery when he realized he was mentally not OK to return to work.

In Part 2, Vernon shares the behavioral health challenges he experienced after the stabbing and how he was able to, over time, not only better manage his post-traumatic stress but also become a champion for first responder PTSD recognition and treatment.

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[Watch next: On-demand webinar: Violence prevention — the fire and EMS safety checklist, featuring Captain Vernon]