Jacksonville, FL - Two firefighters are recovering from injuries in a stabbing near UF Health Jacksonville on the northside late Tuesday.
Jacksonville Fire Rescue Interim Chief Keith Powers says the events began with a call around 10pm to a medical call on Franklin Street. While transporting a patient to UF Health for evaluation of back pain, the patient became aggressive toward Captain Latorrence Norris.
The patient was able to get a box cutter that Capt. Norris had in his pocket and cut him multiple times. The engine operator, Vincent Harper, heard the commotion and jumped in to help Capt. Norris. During the altercation, Harper sustained a severe cut to the inside of his thigh.
JSO eventually arrived and took the suspect into custody. A UF Health security guard who was working in the area gave Capt. Norris a ride to the trauma center.
“This decision was paramount in getting the rapid treatment that Captain Norris needed to save his life”, said Chief Powers.
Norris had a collapsed lung and substantial blood loss, which resulted in dangerously low blood pressure. He is now stable and was admitted to the hospital for further treatment and evaluation.
“Had it not been for the selfless actions of Engineer Harper, the quick thinking of a security guard and the incredible medical team at UF Health, this could have been a terrible outcome”, said Chief Powers.
Harper was treated at released from the hospital early this morning.
The Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office has arrested 38-year-old Tony Harris for battery of a law enforcement officer and resisting arrest. He is not eligible for bond.
A check of court records found Harris has been arrested ten times in Duval County dating back to 2003, including charges of drug possession, theft, child neglect and domestic battery. It’s unclear what motivated the attack.
“As firefighters we always say we’ll lay down our lives for others and last night JFRD Engineer Harper proved that by throwing himself into harm’s way to help stop the attack on Captain Norris”, said Chief Powers.
“So Vinny, thank you for your heroic act. Your actions undoubtedly prevented a bad situation from becoming a tragedy”, said Chief Powers.
According the interim chief, funding was provided for bullet-proof vests for all JFRD riding positions, but the decision to wear that is based on an individual crew’s choice to wear them. And the crew that responded to last night’s medical call made the decision not to wear the vests.
Briefed last night on the attack on our Jax Fire & Rescue @JFRDJAX personnel. Prayers for our first responders who put themselves in harms way, and for the friends and family who support them.— Lenny Curry (@lennycurry) October 9, 2019
Two firefighters attacked on the job, according to the Jacksonville Firefighters Association. @JSOPIO only saying two people stabbed. What we know about their injuries AT 5 on @ActionNewsJax pic.twitter.com/iZCz5PYljc— Beth Rousseau (@BethANJax) October 9, 2019
Two local firefighters are recovering this morning, the Jacksonville Firefighters Association says they were attacked while on the job. What JSO has to say about the stabbing suspect AT 6 on @ActionNewsJax. pic.twitter.com/uvQAeKKD0n— Beth Rousseau (@BethANJax) October 9, 2019
JFRD union president said both victims are firefighters. https://t.co/q2BMTnmZHZ— Russell Colburn (@RussellANjax) October 9, 2019