LANDOVER HILLS – On the one year anniversary of a Prince George's County Fire Department paramedic who was shot and killed in the line of duty, fellow firefighters, family and friends gathered Saturday night at the Landover Hills Fire Station for a moment of silence to remember John "Skillet" Ulmschneider.
“It's been a tough years,” said Capt. Danon Ushinski, commander of Prince George's County Fire/EMS Station 844, where Ulmschneider started his career. “It's been a year now. He's missed.
“There have been some good things that have happened. We now have a peer support group that was started for our firefighters when they need help dealing with problems. We have not forgotten Dawn, Skillet's wife, and his daughter Abigail. We are there when she needs something done and we will always be there.”
On April 15, 2016, Ulmschneider was working overtime on paramedic ambulance 823 from the Forestville Volunteer Fire Department with another paramedic. Around 8 p.m. they responded to the 5000 block of Sharon Road to check on the welfare of a man after his brother was unable to contact him.
When units arrived on the scene they were unable to make contact with the man inside the house, who was identified as Darrell Lumpkin. At that point Ulmschneider and volunteer firefighter Kevin Swain, a 19-year-old from the Morningside Volunteer Fire Department, was able to enter the house. As they entered the house Lumpkin, who was having a diabetic emergency, opened fire on Ulmschneider and Swain, striking them both.
Ulmschneider was transported to Southern Maryland Trauma Center in Clinton, where he was later pronounced dead.
“I know John would be very proud of you and the job that you do,” said Cheryl Ulmschneider, John’s mother, as she tried to hold back the tears. “I miss him, we all do, his whole family does. Just please, please remember to stay safe.”
Over 100 firefighters, family and friends bowed their heads at 8:38 p.m. for a moment of silence as the fire department's Pipe and Drum team played Amazing Grace. A special announcement was then made over the fire department's radio system.
“Having this ceremony tonight is part of the grieving process,” said Ben Barksdale, fire chief of the Prince George's County Fire Department. “To remember Skillet after one year and to remember what he meant to this department, his work ethic, his dedication, it's just going to take time because of how Skillet affected everyone. He was just not an employee. He was a real family member.”
Ulmschneider was the first firefighter in the state of Maryland to be shot and killed in the line of duty. He is also the third firefighter to be shot and killed in the line of duty in the United States in the last five years.
On Dec. 12, 2012, a gunman ambushed firefighters after setting a house on fire in the Rochester suburb of Webster, N.Y., killing two firefighters and injuring two others before killing himself on a Lake Ontario beach.