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News

Two San Diego Firefighters Stabbed On The Job

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Two San Diego firefighters were stabbed yesterday while trying to help a man who had passed out on a trolley platform.San Diego firefighters Alex Wallbrett, 37, and Ben Vernon, 32, were responding to a drunk man who had collapsed on a trolley platform near Park Blvd. and Market St. in San Diego's East Village at about 3:55 p.m. on Wednesday, the San Diego Union-Tribune reports. Vernon was aiding the man when police say a bystander, later identified as a 34-year-old homeless man named Ryan Allen Jones, approached and began offering advice on how to treat the patient. The firefighters asked Jones numerous times to step back, but instead of complying, Jones allegedly pulled out a folding knife and stabbed Vernon several times. Wallbrett was also stabbed when he rushed to save Vernon. Transit security officers were eventually able to pull Jones, who is 6'3" and 210 lbs., off of the firefighters and pepper spray him, ABC 10 reports.

Jones has been booked on suspicion of attempted murder, assault with a deadly weapon and resisting arrest. San Diego Police Chief Shelly Zimmerman said investigators aren't sure why Jones attacked the firefighters, and that it did not seem like he knew the man that Vernon was assisting.

"I've been (with the fire department) for 35 years, and while we've had altercations—and I've certainly been in a few myself over the years with people who wish to interfere with our jobs—I've never seen one that resulted in two firefighters facing a near-death experience," Fire Chief Javier Mainar said in a press conference.

Wallbrett was released from the hospital last night. Vernon, however, suffered a collapsed lung when he was stabbed in the back and will need several more days to recover.