DARCY SPENCER

‘I'm Here for a Reason': Prince George's County Firefighter Recalls Shooting 1 Year Later

Kevin Swain said he felt immense guilt after the shooting that killed his partner John "Skillet" Ulmshneider

A volunteer firefighter who was shot four times while trying to help a man says he still relives the shooting that killed his partner a year later.

"I remember a flash. I didn't hear it and then it was like slow-mo and then...you just kept hearing the bangs," Morningside Volunteer Firefighter Kevin Swain told News4.

Swain and his partner, 37-year-old John Ulmschneider, were responding to a medical call at a home in Temple Hills, Maryland, on April 15, 2016 when the homeowner opened fire.

"It just feels like it was yesterday," Swain said.

The scene was chaotic. Firefighter Quida Livingston broke her jaw after running into a rescue engine during those frantic moments after she heard gunshots.

"It just felt like I couldn’t hear. I felt like couldn't blink my eyes. I felt like I couldn't breathe, like everything on my face was just shut down," Livingston said.

Livingston is good friends with Swain and said she remembered someone saying "Kevin’s down." She ran back to him. "I started screaming to him, like, 'Kevin! Tell me something. Are you OK up there?"

Swain, who was 19 years old at the time of the shooting, was critically wounded. 

"I was shot [in my] right abdomen, my back, my hip and -- I called it my million-dollar wound like Forrest Gump -- my left butt cheek. And then the bullet actually sits right here down my leg," he said.

Ulmschneider, whose nickname was "Skillet," was killed. He was a 13-year veteran of the Prince George's County Fire Department and left behind a wife and a young daughter.

Swain said he felt immense guilt after the shooting.

"It bothered me. It ate me alive, actually, because I would have to think that, you know, his 2-year-old daughter will never see her father again," Swain said.

He said he also felt anger that the homeowner, Darrell Lumpkin, would not face charges for shooting he and Ulmschneider.

"I mean, I was angry. I'm not going to lie. I was angry," Swain said. "It's just a feeling of shock. I just couldn’t believe it."

Lumpkin was indicted on six weapons charges in July 2016, but not the shooting itself. He is set to be sentenced on Friday.

But the Morningside Volunteer Fire Department medics who were on that call said they are thankful that their crew is back together.

"You know, we all really came together and made everyone feel really supported, you know, and that confirmed all of the reasons I joined Morningside in the first place," said Morningside Lt. Michael O'Brien.

"I'm here for a reason, I guess," Swain said.

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