ST. PAUL, Minn. (WCCO) — It’s been two months since St. Paul first responders confronted a situation they’d never faced before. On Tuesday, they were honored for their quick thinking and bravery.
In October, one person died and 14 others were shot in the city’s largest mass shooting. It happened at the Seventh Street Truck Park, a few blocks from the Xcel Energy Center.
It was a night of chaos.
Cpt. Mark Monson, whose crew was first on scene, told WCCO: “In a person’s career, there’s a handful of events you remember. This was an incredible night.”
Medics got the call around midnight that four people may have been shot.
“It didn’t take me long to realize this was bigger than four persons shot,” Monson said.
Monson and his fellow firefighter/medics found 15 victims.
“As I am walking down the street, the scene just kept unrolling in front of me, getting bigger and bigger and bigger,” Monson said.
For one young woman, Marquisha Wiley, it was too late.
“I know that we did everything we could to save her life,” Monson said. “She was the first patient we saw, she got immediate care before all the chaos after it followed, and, unfortunately, she did not survive.”
For some perspective on how traumatic this shooting was for this department, about 52 firefighters answered the call, roughly half the staff that was working across the entire city.
So those firefighters were recognized by St. Paul Mayor Melvin Carter.
“I can’t imagine the trauma that it took, that you had to expose yourself to,” he said.
The first responders were rewarded by St. Paul Fire Chief Butch Inks.
“I commend you for your extraordinary work,” he said.
It was a moment to remember for those who endured a night they’ll never forget.
“I stayed up that night thinking about the run over and over and over again and what I would have done different,” Monson said. “I hope it never ever happens again, but if it does, I know I will be better prepared for it the next time.”
Chief Inks praised firefighters with these remarks and read their names:
In my almost 35 years of service to the City of Saint Paul, I can only remember a handful of times where we have gathered and publicly recognized firefighters for their actions. Our firefighters and paramedics save lives, deliver babies, and positively impact patient outcomes daily. They do so during responses to cardiac arrests, motor vehicle accidents, intervening with patients in crisis, and in the early morning of October 10th responding to multiple victims shot at the 7th Street Truck Park Bar. Ten ambulances, three fire apparatus and three chiefs responded to the scene, 52 firefighters in total, almost half the shift on duty that day. Their coordinated and professional action at a very chaotic scene allowed them to quickly assess dozens of patients suffering from gunshot wounds to injuries sustained during the mass exit of the bar. The quick action, dedication to duty, and courage they showed running towards the sounds of chaos and danger exemplify everything it means to be an emergency responder with the St. Paul Fire Dept. Thanks to the city’s strong public safety partnership with Saint Paul Police the City’s Emergency Management Division, our firefighters were able to make entry to quickly and safely do their job.
I would like to publicly recognize the following people with a letter of appreciation stating Medic 10: FEO: Nick Hansen FF: Bernard Foster FF: Megan Roesler Medic 5: Captain: Josh Tweed FEO: Jim Hoel FF: Andrew Martinez FF: Sarah Reasoner Medic 18: Captain: Juan Morin FEO: Chuck Schwartz FF: Cody Mittelstaedt FF: Anthony Probasco Medic 22: OOT Captain: John Hornyak FEO: Douglas Johnson FF: Ulicer Sanchez FF: Lance Thompson Medic 4: OOT Captain: Roberto Rodriguez FEO: Nicholas Kuehneman FF: Kevin Sak FF: Thomas Svihel Medic 8: FF: William Siems FF: Tanner Hanke Medic 7: FF: Thomas Hernandez FF: Korey Ketchmark Medic 24: Captain: Nate Sole FEO: Chuck Perbix FF: Ryan G. Burns FF: Matthew Swenson Medic 6: Captain: Eric Papp FEO: Mike Christopherson FF: Steven Johnson Engine 8: OOT Captain: Nathan Wiley FEO: Brian Miller FF: Shaun Harris Ladder 8: OOT Captain: Tou Lee FEO: Al Fonseca FF: Ryan Eckert FF: Bryce Lindahl Chief 1: OOT District Chief Ryan Christopherson In addition to the letters of appreciation I would like to recognize the following two individuals with the Fire Chief Commendation stating: (Read letter) Captain Mark Munson District Chief John Galle I can’t say enough about our public safety partnership hear in Saint Paul and I can’t say enough of how proud I am of the women and men of our department. I know the demands on each and every one of you, and I know the last two years have been incredibly challenging. You continue to impress me personally and I truly thank you for your service!