You may recall that just three days after two firefighters were killed and two others wounded in the Webster, New York ambush on December 24, 2012, a man in the Hoover, Alabama area opened fire on firefighters responding to an EMS call. That man is 47-year-old Phillip Earl Jones Jr.
Jones was originally charged with attempted murder and indicted by a grand jury on the same charge. Jones fired multiple shots at the firefighters as they came in his front door. Jones was allowed to plead guilty May 12 to a misdemeanor charge of reckless endangerment. He ends up with a six month suspended sentence and a year of probation. Carol Robinson at AL.com reports the lack of jail time is not sitting well with firefighters:
“How could this happen?” said Lee Kilgore, vice present of the Hoover Firefighter’s Association, and one of the firefighters who responded to Jones’ home that December morning. “We thought we would get a felony conviction of sorts, and that way he couldn’t get his firearms back. He had like 200 in his house.”
Bessemer Cutoff Chief Assistant District Attorney Bill Vietch said he wasn’t involved with the case, but said it’s his understanding the firefighters were aware of the agreed deal. “Everything was a go,” he said. “They understood completely that it was reckless endangerment.”
Vietch said the attempted murder charge was reduced to reckless endangerment because there was no intent for him to kill anyone. “He was having a medical emergency and told the policemen he saw dark shadows coming at him,” Vietch said. “He didn’t just decide he was going to shoot the firemen.”