Firefighters find themselves under fire after responding to Memorial mass shooting scene

HOUSTON – When firefighters responded to the mass shooting at Memorial and Wycliffe in west Houston Sunday, they found themselves under fire. 

"As we almost came to a stop, is when he shouldered his rifle and started aiming at us and firing on us. I could see him through the rest of the windows,” Houston Fire Capt. Ross Emblad said.

Emblad was spending his second day as a captain at HFD Fire Station 57 when they got the call. He and his firefighters arrived only about 90 seconds after the call.

"We saw a man waving us off. And I ... initially thought he was pointing at somebody down the road like a shooter or a victim's down there somewhere," Emblad said.

Soon, Emblad gave a rare call that no other firefighters should respond to that location.

"And then immediately after that he pulled his rifle or AR-15. Whatever it was, he pulled it and pointed it at us and started firing. And that's when we immediately drove off further down the road on Memorial," he said.

Police and firefighters told police at a nearby church to shelter in place.

Veteran firefighter and U.S. Marine Chris Horst said he had never seen anything like this.

"Every situation that we go into it's an unknown. There's no known entity. We could have someone there who wants to do us harm. We're never going to know for 100 percent certain," Horst said.

A sign on Memorial Drive thanked the first responders. When Emblad got home Sunday night, he hugged his family. He knew Sunday could have ended much differently for many people near the shooting.