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Cops: Man who shot EMT had murder in mind

March 3, 2011 3:25:25 PM PST
The man who shot a paramedic after crashing his car on Long Island may have had something far worse in mind. Police found a stockpile of weapons and ammo after killing him in a shootout, including guns that were strapped to the suspect's body.

The wounded paramedic, identified as 20-year-old Justin Angell, was released from the hospital Thursday.

The suspect, 31-year-old Jason Beller, appeared to be on his way to carry out a mass killing, according to police. Beller's family describes him as "extremely troubled" and issued a sincere apology.

In emergency dispatch recordings, you can hear the fear in the voices of Bellmore firefighters. The tapes capture the moment when they realized an accident victim they were trying to help was shooting at them.

Firefighter: "The man is shooting out of the vehicle that got into the accident!"
Dispatcher: "The male is shooting a gun?"
Firefighter: "Ten four! That's affirmative! The man is shooting a gun!"
Dispatcher: "Bellmore units use caution. There's a man shooting a gun."

LISTEN TO THE FULL TAPE HERE

Beller, who had crashed his pickup truck into a telephone pole, continued firing. He shot Angell in the hip.

"I just wanted to get out of there," Angell said. "It wasn't making any sense. It was so quick, and I didn't know what was going on."

As colleagues rushed Angell to the hospital, police closed in and killed the gunman in what eyewitnesses describe as a fierce gun battle.

"It was crazy," Bellmore Fire Chief Robert Taylor said. "There were gunshots going off everywhere. It was insane."

Officers say they found several weapons and rounds of ammunition both inside the gunman's truck and strapped to his body. Police sources say that less than two hours before crashing, he was involved in a domestic dispute in Commack with a woman who refused to press charges.

"It is clear to us that this man was out to commit mayhem in this county," Nassau County Police Commissioner Lawrence Mulvey said. "There may have been some turmoil in his personal life."

The suspect had an arrest record for petty larceny, but there were no arrests for any violence, police said.

Neighbors, reacting to the news, called the man anti-social.

"I'm not surprised," neighbor Brenda Hamp said. "I was thinking to myself, he's really strange."

Angell was posting to his Facebook page after the incident.

"To everyone...thank u so much for the calls concerns and visits...just got up and walked a bit," said part of the message.

The shooting erupted at about 10 p.m. Tuesday after Beller hit a utility pole with his truck. When the volunteer ambulance crew arrived, he fired at least eight shots at them from an assault rifle.

"It was really scary, and it could've been a lot worse," Angell said. "I mean, thank God I wasn't that close. And if he had actually walked up to the car, it could've been a lot worse. He had a lot of weapons and a lot of ammunition. So I'm glad I'm alright."

It was not clear whom the gunman may have been targeting, but Mulvey was convinced had the crash not occurred, a mass shooting was imminent.

"He has strapped to his chest a firearm with a scope. He has in his lap a long barreled revolver, and in his pocket a semiautomatic pistol," Mulvey said. "He's utilizing an assault weapon with a laser scope and there's a Tec-9 behind the passenger seat within easy arm reach of his hand, and another weapon in the car. It all evokes to me evidence that had he not been stopped by police, there very well could have been mayhem committed in this community."

Angell said he will go back to work, but needs about three weeks to a month to fully recover.

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