Homeowner indicted in shooting of 2 Md. firefighters

WASHINGTON — The Temple Hills, Maryland, homeowner who prosecutors say shot and killed a Prince George’s County firefighter and injured a second in April will not face a murder charge, state’s attorney Angela Alsobrooks announced Thursday.

Instead, Darrell Lumpkin, 61, has been indicted on six counts related to illegal possession of firearms.

Lumpkin, who had previously not been publicly identified by authorities, likely faces a maximum of about 45 years in prison if convicted, Alsobrooks said.

A grand jury reviewed the evidence in the case, Alsobrooks said, and declined to return an indictment for murder.

Lumpkin was previously convicted of assault in D.C. in the 1980s and was therefore disqualified from owning weapons, Alsobrooks said.

In addition to the .380 semiautomatic handgun Lumpkin used in the shooting, police also recovered two other handguns — one 40-caliber gun and a 25-caliber gun — from Lumpkin’s home, she said.

Firefighter and paramedic John Ulmschneider, 39, died in the April 15 shooting. Kevin Swain, a 19-year-old volunteer firefighter, is still recovering from his injuries, according to fire department officials.

Both firefighters were shot during a welfare check at Lumpkin’s home, requested by Lumpkin’s brother. Lumpkin was questioned by police on the day of the shooting but later released and not immediately charged. He told police he had been sleeping and thought the firefighters were attempting to break into his home.

The grand jury considered the facts of the case and Lumpkin’s intent, she said. Alsobrooks called the case a “tragedy.”

“There is nothing happy about this case,” she said. “There was no good result, as far as I’m concerned, unless you can bring back the firefighter who lost his life.”

Lumpkin’s trial date has not yet been set.

Deputy Fire Chief Benjamin Barksdale said now that the criminal investigation is preparing to enter the courts, the fire department will undertake a thorough after-action report about the incident.

Ulmschneider and Swain, who were accompanied by Lumpkin’s brother during the welfare check, acted appropriately, Barksdale said. “Unfortunately, it had a tragic outcome,” he added.

In the future, fire officials will take a “somewhat more cautious posture,” Barksdale said.

The after-action report also will examine whether Prince George’s County Fire Department should purchase bulletproof vests and whether to make their use mandatory for firefighters. No decisions have been made yet, Barksdale said.

WTOP’s Neal Augenstein and Mike Murillo contributed to this report.

Jack Moore

Jack Moore joined WTOP.com as a digital writer/editor in July 2016. Previous to his current role, he covered federal government management and technology as the news editor at Nextgov.com, part of Government Executive Media Group.

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