Young first responder dies after getting shot near Tucson house fire

Jul 30, 2021, 11:45 AM | Updated: 1:38 pm
Jacob Dindinger (Facebook Photo/AMR Southern Arizona)...
Jacob Dindinger (Facebook Photo/AMR Southern Arizona)
(Facebook Photo/AMR Southern Arizona)

PHOENIX – Nearly two weeks after getting shot in the head outside a Tucson house fire, a 20-year-old first responder has died, authorities said.

Jacob Dindinger was performing his job as an emergency medical technician for ambulance company American Medical Response on July 18 when a convicted felon shot him.

“It is with the heaviest heart that we share Jacob Dindinger has passed away,” AMR Southern Arizona said Friday in a Facebook post. “Our thoughts are with Jacob and his family as we honor his life and his service.”

Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey ordered flags to be flown at half-staff Saturday to honor Dindinger. Ducey said in ordered” rel=”noopener” target=”_blank”>press release that Dindinger died Thursday night.

Dindinger, who graduated from Tucson’s Canyon del Oro High School in 2019, is the second victim to die as a result of the mass shooting.

The alleged shooter, 35-year-old Leslie Stephen Scarlett, also died, succumbing to his injuries three days after an officer shot him a few blocks from the house fire.

Police confirmed that a badly burned body found inside the home was Scarlett’s girlfriend, 36-year-old Jennifer Fells. An autopsy showed she suffered gunshot trauma, police said.

Dindinger was driving an ambulance while on standby for another incident when Scarlett drove up to the house fire and fired shots at the crew.

Dindinger was struck in the head, and a paramedic in the passenger seat, a 21-year-old woman, was hit in the chest and arm, police said.

The suspect then opened fire on firefighters and neighbors trying to douse the flames.

Neighbor Cory Michael Saunders, 44, was fatally shot, a firefighter was hit in the arm, and another bullet grazed another neighbor’s head.

A responding police officer encountered the suspect a couple of blocks away. Police said the man rammed his SUV into the officer’s vehicle and opened fire.

The officer was uninjured and returned fire, fatally wounding Scarlett.

According to the Arizona Department of Corrections, Scarlett had a criminal history that included a 2007 conviction for an attempted armed robbery. He was sentenced to six years in prison and released in 2013.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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