Line Stretches Through Church Parking Lot at Visitation for Firefighter Fatally Shot in MD

Friends, family and colleagues of a firefighter shot and killed while responding to a call for help at a home in a Maryland suburb of Washington paid their respects.

A visitation for firefighter John Ulmschneider, 37, was held at St. John's Catholic Parish in his hometown of Hollywood, Maryland, Tuesday evening. The line stretched out of the church and through the parking lot, Prince George's County Bureau Chief Tracee Wilkins reported.

With so many firefighters wanting to pay tribute, Prince George's County Fire Chief Marc Bashoor said it wouldn't have been possible for so many to participate in Tuesday's services and Wednesday's funeral without the help of surrounding fire departments.

"Thanks to our neighboring departments from as far away as Baltimore City, Arlington County, down here in St. Mary's and Calvert County, they're covering our stations this afternoon, as well as volunteers from within the county and some of the on-duty folks who said I really didn't know John so I'm going to let the people that did go to the viewing," he said.

His funeral will be at the same place at 1 p.m. Wednesday with a private family burial to follow.

"He often said that when he layed down at night, if he couldn't think of at least one person that he had helped during the course of the day, that he couldn't sleep," said Chris Gable, Ulmschneider's brother in law. "I believe that is the motivation he had to become a firefighter."

Ulmschneider was killed Friday when firefighters went to a Temple Hills home after the brother of the man who lived there told authorities he was concerned about the man. When the firefighters arrived, the person inside did not respond, so they decided to force entry. As that was happening, the person inside fired several rounds, killing Ulmschneider and injuring his own brother along with 19-year-old volunteer firefighter Kevin Swain.

No charges were filed against the homeowner who police said opened fire. Police said the man believed his house was being broken into and fired in self defense. He was questioned and released.

An investigation is ongoing.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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