Minneapolis firefighters protect victim after man rams truck into fire station

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Minneapolis firefighters quickly sprang into action last Thursday, after a man rammed his car into Fire Station 8.

The suspect, 52-year-old Shawn Coates, is charged with two counts of fourth-degree assault, one count of threats of violence and one count of third-degree property damage.

Minneapolis firefighters call the encounter “unusual.”

“I noticed a truck coming the wrong way down Blaisdell Avenue and it came in and it started to turn into my station. I thought maybe there’s an issue,” Capt. Colm Black, Minneapolis Fire Department, said.

Black was right.

On Jan 6. around 7:15 p.m., a woman rushed toward Minneapolis Fire Station 8 asking for help.

“She was standing here and I’m like ‘Is everything okay?’ she said, ‘This car is following me and I’m scared,’” Black said.

The captain asked the man in the car to leave several times, but he refused.

He told the victim to go into the station for safety.

“I got in here quick enough and was screaming for them to shut the doors and call the police and that’s kind of when the chaos started,” Black said.

Black said the driver tried to hit him with his truck. The suspect’s truck slammed into the side of the fire station instead.

“It was shocking,” he said. “I’ve been on the job 20 years now and I have never had nothing like this before.”

There were other firefighters inside the station quickly jumping into action to help.

“He was very determined to get into the station and was obviously very agitated and so we don’t have any defense here. There’s no guns allowed,” Nathan Witt, Minneapolis firefighter, said.

Once the man rammed his truck into the fire station, one of the firefighters picked up an ax to make sure the suspect couldn’t leave.

“Hagland punctured [the suspect’s] tire with the back of the ax here and that still didn’t deter him at all,” Witt said.

According to court documents, the man got out of the truck and went for Black.

“He came out and dropped his hands and I saw that he had nothing in his hands. I said okay, well now we can just rush him now,” Capt. Bilal Atiq, Minneapolis Fire Department, said.

Another firefighter tackled the suspect to the ground.

The firemen detained him until police arrived.

“My main thing for me was just to make sure my guys were cool,” Atiq said.

It’s all a part of the job — teaming up, thinking quickly and possibly saving a life.

“That’s what we’re here for in the community. We’re here to protect people in this town,” Witt said.

The firemen call it another day in the life on the job.

“The goal is that we go home every day. We do live in a dangerous world and we do a dangerous job, but we all try to work together safely to do that job. I feel like these guys did it that night,” Black said.