CFD paramedic candidate comes to aid of 2 wounded officers on 1st day

CHICAGO (WLS) -- A Chicago Fire Department paramedic candidate was honored Thursday for coming to the aid of two wounded police officers just days after he graduated from the academy.

It was Gerardo Casas' very first EMS run to start his career.

"It was my first day out of the academy, and I'm already just nervous being the new guy here," Casas said.

One of those officers shot in the hand, the other in the chest and shoulder area and he said that added another level of stress and anxiety especially for his first call, but his training kicked in.

"The adrenaline was kind of hitting me hard, like I was very nervous. My heart was thumping, and I just was thinking, I want to do a good job," Casas said.

The shooting happened on Sunday morning at 14th Street and Lawndale Avenue. Two officers were struck by gunfire responding to a shot spotter alert.

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"It was just kind of instinctual. We've gone through those kind of scenarios in the academy, like theoretically," Casas said. "I never thought it would be the first thing I do here for the city."

It happened just two days after Casas graduated from the academy as a paramedic candidate. He said this is not the first call he was expecting, but he stepped up.

"He has good training. He has good instincts, and if I come up behind him on a run, I know that what needs to happen is happening," said Jacob Dickman, paramedic field chief.

Both officers shot over the weekend are home recovering -- a testament to the service and sacrifice of the EMS workers saving lives.

"This is what it's about. Just helping everyone out no matter what, and I think that's a good thing," Casas said.

Casas will be a full-fledged paramedic with Chicago Fire in about nine months.
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