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One of two Birmingham, Alabama, firefighters who were shot while on duty last week has died, Birmingham Fire and Rescue Service said.
Jordan Melton was shot last Wednesday at a fire station in what the police chief said could have been a “targeted” attack.
“Jordan paid the ultimate price for his service to our city, we will not let that sacrifice be in vain,” said Birmingham Mayor Woodfin. “We are his family, and his memory will be honored.”
“Jordan was a vibrant young brother who was full of life. He loved to talk sports as much as he loved good barbecue,” Mayor Woodfin said in a statement Monday. “He had a brilliant mind for business, but he was always down to lighten the mood with a joke or two. He was also a wonderful son to his mother, who has been his rock in these difficult past few days.”
Woodfin noted that, while Melton had “served at Birmingham Fire and Rescue for more than a year, he had just graduated from the recruit academy one month ago.”
CBS News reports another firefighter, Jamel Jones, was also shot during last week’s attack and had been in serious condition.
The fire department did not provide an update on Jones’ condition.
According to Alabama.com, Birmingham police and Birmingham Fire and Rescue Service were called about 8:30 a.m. Wednesday, July 12, to Station 9 at 1228 27th St. North, where the firefighters had reportedly been shot in the chest and legs.
Birmingham Police Chief Scott Thurmond said the shooter entered the fire station through the open bay door, which typically remains open to be accessible to residents who need their blood pressure checked or other help or information.
The shooting happened shortly after they started their shift.
The early indication is that this was a targeted attack, Police Chief Thurmond said.
“We don’t know why it would be a targeted attack, that’s one of the things we’re trying to determine,’’ Thurmond said. “It’s extremely unusual for someone to come target one of our fire stations and so we’re trying to see why would someone want to target one of these fire stations in Birmingham.”
“I find it extremely troubling that they would be targeted,’’ the chief said. “I hate to say it but unfortunately, I think police would be the bigger targets. Our firefighters are there to protect and aid and rescue our citizens and to see them critically injured is troubling, disheartening.”
The chief said at least one other firefighter was inside the station when the shooting happened. That firefighter was not injured.
“Is it professional? Is it personal? Is it none of the above?’’ Thurmond said. “We just don’t know.”
No arrests have been made.
Melton is Birmingham’s 77th homicide this year, according to Alabama.com.
A $15,000 reward is being offered for information leading to a suspect or suspects in his death.
Anyone with information is asked to call Birmingham homicide detectives at 205-25-1764 or Crime Stoppers at 205-254-7777.