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Sentencing in Shooting of Maryland Firefighters

UPPER MARLBORO, Md. (FOX 5) – A Temple Hills man who shot two Prince George’s County firefighters when they entered his home last year has been sentenced to four years in prison.

Darrell Lumpkin apologized in court Friday telling the judge he was very sorry. He claimed he was having a diabetic episode and thought someone was breaking into his home when he opened fire.

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The courtroom was packed with firefighters and family members as the wife of John Ulmschneider, the firefighter killed in the incident, got up to tell the court how difficult her life has been like since losing her husband. Dawn Ulmschneider said John was her best friend and soul mate. The widow is raising their 22-month-old daughter and she said one day that Abigail will realize that her father will not be coming home.

Lumpkin shot and killed Ulmschneider and wounded volunteer firefighter Kevin Swain as well as his own brother, who was with the firefighters at the time. The firefighters had gone to the house after Lumpkin’s brother called 911 to say his brother needed help. When no one answered, the firefighter forced entry into the home. And as they did, Lumpkin opened fire.

Lumpkin was not charged for the killing, but was charged with illegal possession of firearms.

Outside of the courthouse after Lumpkin’s sentencing, Prince George’s County State’s Attorney Angela Alsobrooks explained Lumpkin had been convicted of simple assault in Washington D.C. in 1985. In 2001, he had purchased a gun legally. However, when the law changed in 2012, he was in violation of it.

“That is what the evidence tells us – that he was going through a diabetic episode,” said Alsobrooks. “That is why his brother was concerned because he had made contact with him several times during that day. He called him. He said his brother was speaking incoherently. He could tell he was confused when he called him.

“And when he called him and no longer reached him, he thought his brother had passed out because he had done so at work. A couple of times that week, he had passed out because of the diabetes at work and was later forced to retire. But when his brother was unable to reach him after the initial phone calls, he was frantic and said my brother is in there, he’s sick at the very least and may be dead, and he urged the firefighters at the door that night to please knock the door down to get to my brother. I think he’s in a medical emergency.”

The other firefighter, Kevin Swain, was hit four times in the shooting. He said in court that he has survivor’s guilt and has had to live with nightmares. He also said he was angry, depressed and in a deep hole he couldn’t come out of, which led him to finally seek help.

Prince George’s County Fire and EMS Chief Benjamin Barksdale said the shooting has changed the way they respond to these types of situations.

“Makes you think a little bit more about running what we call the normal medical local – that you approach the house a little bit differently, that you are not going to stand directly in the door,” he said. “That if you do force entry, you may move to the side. It definitely has changed our tactics as far as how we answer those types of calls.

The judge gave Lumpkin 30 days to put his life in order before he has to turn himself in to begin his prison sentence.