JFRD Fire Chief: 1 of 2 Fighters Slashed By Patient Nearly Died

Oct 9, 2019

One of two firefighters stashed and stabbed by a patient Tuesday night as he was being taken to a hospital in the back of a rescue unit is recovering from serious injuries, Jacksonville Fire and Rescue interim Chief Keith Powers said Wednesday.

The incident took place after two firefighters/paramedics responded to a medical emergency about 10 p.m. on Franklin Street, according WJCT News partner News4Jax.

Powers said the patient, later identified as Tony Harris, was calm when they loaded him in the rescue unit headed to UF Health Jacksonville.

As the rescue unit drove through Springfield, the patient got up off the stretcher, grabbed a box cutter from Capt. Latorrence Morris' pocket, who was tending to him, and slashed Morris several times in the upper chest and abdomen," Powers said.

Powers said the firefighter/engineer who was driving, Vinnie Harper, heard the commotion, then stopped the rescue unit on Boulevard at West 10th Street and climbed in the back to help subdue the patient. Harper suffered a deep cut to his right thigh.

The struggle continued until Jacksonville police arrived and took Harris into custody.

An expanded version of this story that includes additional information about Powers’ condition along with Mayor Lenny Curry’s response to the attack is at News4Jax.com.