Florida paramedic recalls springing into action as driver pulls loaded gun on responders

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A Florida paramedic and his partner were forced to think quickly when an initially unresponsive man whom they were trying to treat suddenly reached for a loaded handgun and pointed it toward them, officials told Fox News.

Carlos Santos, 50, and his partner were responding to the call for an apparently unconscious driver on May 31 in Manatee County’s Bradenton. When they arrived, they broke the back window to get into the vehicle, shifted it into park and pulled the keys from the ignition. 

But as they began to check the unresponsive man’s vitals, “the patient reached for a handgun in the car, pointing it toward the first responders,” states a Manatee County press release obtained by Fox News on Tuesday. 

Speaking to Fox News on Wednesday morning, Santos recalled standing on the driver’s side door and seeing movement out of the corner of his eye, only to realize the man “had a gun in his hand.” 

Santos, who has worked as a paramedic for eight years, said the driver was holding the gun holster with his left hand, and trying to pull the weapon out of the carrier with his right hand. 

“There’s always a danger, but nothing like this,” Santos said, when asked by Fox News if he had ever run into a similar situation while on the job. 

The startling video shows the man reach into his center console and pull out the holstered gun. What happens in the next few moments is blurred, but paramedics and other emergency responders are seen scrambling to pull the loaded firearm from the man’s hands. 

“I lunged for the gun,” Santos continued. “I yelled, ‘Gun, gun, gun.'” 

In the video, first responders can be seen emptying the gun of bullets. Sheriff’s deputies are later seen leading the suspect away from the vehicle in handcuffs.

It is not yet clear why the driver was initially unresponsive in the vehicle. An open beer can was seen in the vehicle’s front seat cupholder. 

Meanwhile, Santos and his partner, fellow Manatee County paramedic Joe Savasta, are being lauded as heroes.

Speaking during a ceremony honoring their bravery, Santos said seeing the gun initially “shocked” him, according to the Manatee Herald, which broadcast the event. 

“My second thought was, ‘Get that gun or we’re all dead,’” he said. He added that he didn’t hesitate to spring into action. 

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