Watch CBS News

EMT shot on the job leaves Richmond University Medical Center; Suspect hit with multiple charges

Staten Island EMT says he's lucky to be alive after being shot on job
Staten Island EMT says he's lucky to be alive after being shot on job 02:00

NEW YORK -- An EMT shot Wednesday night while transporting a patient to a Staten Island hospital was, himself, released Thursday from that very hospital.

The man who allegedly opened fire on him was his patient.

As CBS2's Alice Gainer reported, that EMT works for Richmond University Medical Center and was already on his way there when police say the man in the ambulance pulled out a gun and shot him in the shoulder.

A retired NYPD detective happened to be right where it all went down. He heard the shot, saw the suspect run, and tackled him to the ground.

There was thunderous applause and cheers as EMT Richard McMahon was released from the hospital.

The 25-year-old and his partner responded to Forest Avenue in the West Brighton section of the borough on Wednesday at around 7:30 p.m. to pick up someone believed to be drunk and disorderly from the Funkey Monkey Lounge.

New surveillance video shows them pull up to the side street in the back. They approach a man on the sidewalk and speak to him for a time. The EMTs then help the man walk toward the ambulance. They then take off and head to the hospital.

Not long after, police say the man, identified as 37-year-old Thomas McCauley, pulled out a .38-caliber revolver, shot McMahon in the shoulder, and fled.

EMT released from hospital after being shot on Staten Island 02:42

"I saw a female EMT worker yelling, 'He shot my partner! He shot my partner!'" Joseph Perrone said.

Perrone, a lieutenant with the Department of Sanitation Environmental Police, was off duty at the time and getting food with his family.

He said he saw another man, a retired NYPD detective, tackle McCauley.

"We put the gentleman on the floor and detained him," Perrone said. "I moved the gun further enough away where if this gentleman got away he would have no access to the weapon."

READ MORE"Nobody wants to do this job anymore": Burnout, fatigue taking a toll on EMTs and paramedics 2 years into COVID pandemic

Perrone identified the man on the surveillance video as McCauley and said the gun was in a black bag.

"He was out of it, completely out of it. You could tell he wasn't really coherent, mumbling," Perrone said.

What are the chances two people with law enforcement training would happen to be in the area at the same time? Perrone says on Staten Island the chances are pretty good.

"If something's gonna happen, there's gonna be a fireman, a cop, a sanitation worker, they're gonna be right there probably, so it was fortunate it worked out," Perrone said.

Last night, DSNY EPU Lt. Joseph Perrone was home with his daughters when he heard a scream. He ran to help, wrestling a...

Posted by New York City Department of Sanitation on Thursday, May 19, 2022

McMahon's mother posted about her son's shooting on Facebook.

"How does my son get SHOT doing his job trying to help people? He has the biggest heart and compassion for his job and patients!! The worst phone call a Mom could get," Kathy McMahon wrote.

She went on to thank the workers at RUMC.

The hospital said, thankfully, Richard McMahon's wound was superficial and not more serious.

McCauley was charged with assault on an EMT and criminal possession of a weapon.

McMahon told CBS2's Nick Caloway that he's in a lot of pain but glad to be home.

"I got shot in the back of the shoulder blade," he said. "If I didn't look up and turn, he would've gotten me right in the chest."

After one shot was fired, McMahon said it didn't take him long to fight back.

"I get up. I go after the gun. I take the gun off the guy," he said.

McMahon said his first instinct was to fight back.

"Kind of fight or flight kind of mode," he said.

First responders in the city face increasingly dangerous conditions on the job. Union officials say assaults on EMTs and paramedics have doubled since 2019.

"You never know who you're going to walk into, if they have a gun," McMahon said.

McMahon said he was overcome with emotion witnessing the outpouring of support when he was released from the hospital Thursday.

"Really means a lot to me, my family, my coworkers, my partners," he said.

McMahon said the bullet didn't hit anything major. He'll be doing physical therapy and taking some time off before going back to work saving lives himself.

EMERGENCY COMPONENT - LOCAL

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.