Family of "Troubled" Gunman Apologizes to Shot Firefighter

Shot 20-year-old volunteer may be released as early as today.

Thursday, Mar 3, 2011  |  Updated 10:09 AM EDT
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Tom Llamas reports.

Tom Llamas reports.

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The family of a heavily armed man who was killed in a shootout with police has apologized to a wounded EMT who rushed to the gunman's aide after he crashed his pickup truck.      

The family described alleged gunman Jason Beller as "extremely troubled,'' according to Newsday.

Volunteer firefighter and emergency medical technician Justin Angell, who was shot near the hip, is in stable condition. The 20-year-old may be released from the hospital as early as today and has been posting messages on Facebook updating family, friends and community members on his recovery.

Police say Beller had a rifle strapped to his chest, extra ammunition inserted in elongated wristbands on his arms, and six other weapons.      

A motive for the Tuesday night shooting was unclear.      

Earlier in the day investigators responded to a call of a domestic disturbance at Beller's house in Commack, where he lived with his wife, according to authorities. The female complainant didn't press charges.    

Meanwhile, Beller, who is believed to have fired on firefighters and police as they responded to his traffic crash, was "bent on mayhem," according to the Nassau County police commissioner.

Angell and several other responders were responding to a report of a crash at Bellmore and Claxton avenues at about 10 p.m. Tuesday. The gunman's pickup had slammed into a utility pole.

As the responders approached the crashed vehicle, gunfire erupted, officials said.

After Angell was hit, his fellow responders managed to pick him up and carry him to the ambulance, which they used as cover as the barrage of bullets continued.

"We never expected something like this. All hell broke loose," Bellmore Fire Chief Robert Taylor, who was at the scene of the gunfire, told NBC New York. "We were told it was a routine traffic accident."

"My concern was just to get everybody out of there safely," Taylor added.

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