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Police: Driver In L.I. Crash Was 'Out To Commit Mayhem'

BELLMORE, NY (CBSNewYork) -- Police said a man who crashed his truck into a utility pole Tuesday night on Long Island before shooting an EMT who was trying to help him was apparently on his way to commit a shooting spree.

At a Wednesday afternoon news conference, Nassau County Police Commissioner Lawrence Mulvey said 31-year-old Jason Beller, of Commack, "was out to commit mayhem somewhere in this county."

PHOTO GALLERY: Long Island Shooter's Weapons Cache

Authorities found six guns on Beller, who police said shot and wounded 20-year-old EMT Justin Angell. Police shot and killed the gunman.

Among the weapons recovered were a rifle strapped to his chest, a small semi-automatic pistol in his pocket, a revolver on his lap and a TEC-9 within easy reach, 1010 WINS' Mona Rivera reported.

Police did not further elaborate on who the man may have been targeting or a motive for the shooting.  Mulvey said no one could have expected to be "fired upon" when coming "to the aid of someone at accident."

Wednesday night, the gunman's distraught family passed along "sincere apologies" to the medic who was shot and said Beller was "extremely troubled."

WCBS 880's Mike Xirinachs speaks with alarmed witnesses


EMT Shooting Scene
Police at the scene in Bellmore (credit: CBS 2)

Bellmore residents were left wondering what more the shooter was capable of.

"Was he just going to go invade a home? Was he going to go up to the school that's right up the road," Linda Roberts asked.

It all started as a routine call to the Bellmore Volunteer Fire Department after the truck crashed on Bellmore Avenue just before 10 p.m. Tuesday night.

Police told CBS 2's Pablo Guzman that before emergency responders could get close enough to see if the driver was injured, the man got out of his wrecked pickup truck with a modified AK-47 assault rifle with a red-dot laser sight and began shooting.

"The victim of the car accident started to open fire on all of us," Bellmore Fire Chief Robert Taylor said.

"I heard four rounds go off. It sounded like a 9mm," an eyewitness said. "I heard a woman scream 'He's shot! He's shot'. I looked across the street to the corner, there was a man on all fours."

The firefighters were stunned, especially when one of the bullets struck Angell, their volunteer medic, in the hip.

"We used the ambulance as a shield and scooped up our medic and put him in the ambulance to transport him to the hospital," Taylor said.

Fire Chief Robert Taylor describes the chaotic scene to 1010 WINS' Mona Rivera


Moments later, Nassau County police officers pulled up on the scene, confronted the heavily armed driver and opened fire, killing him, WCBS 880's Mike Xirinachs reported.

Are you shocked by the story? Who would shoot at a person trying to save lives? Leave a comment below...

Angell, who is also an EMT in Brentwood, was said to be in good spirits at Nassau University Medical Center.  He is expected to be released from the hospital sometime Thursday.

On Wednesday morning, Angell posted a message on Facebook stating that he was still in the Intensive Care Unit but his condition was improving. "To everyone...thank u so much for the calls concerns and visits...just got up and walked a bit,'' said part of the message.

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