Memorial for Firefighter John "Skillet" Ulmschneider

Prince George's County firefighters gathered Saturday to remember John "Skillet" Ulmschneider who was shot and killed while doing a welfare check one year ago.

 

Ulmschneider's mother took part in the remembrance at the Landover Hills station where her son was assigned.

"I know John would be very proud of you and the job that you do," Cheryl Ulmschneider told the crowd. "I miss him, we all do, his whole family does. Just please, please remember to stay safe."

There was a moment of silence at 8:38 p.m., the time Ulmschneider was killed last year in Temple Hills. Ulmschneider and another firefighter were doing a welfare check on a man named Darrell Lumpkin at the request of Lumpkin's brother. Lumpkin opened fire killing Ulmschneider, and injuring firefighter Kevin Swain and his brother. Lumpkin said he was having a diabetic episode and thought someone was breaking in.

Ulmschneider was a father to a little girl who's now nearly two years old.

He was described by those who knew him as a prankster with a great sense of humor who  wouldn't let any of the firefighters call him by his first name. Instead he insisted on being called "Skillet," a nickname from growing up on the farm.

"The moment he walked in the door, he stole the floor," said Battalion Chief Donald Fletcher. "He was an overwhelming personality, he made sure you knew where he stood. He was just a jokester. He always referred to me as 'pretty boy,' and made sure I  knew he was a dirt under the fingernails kind of guy. I miss that and I miss him."

"He wasn't just an employee, he was a real family member," said Prince George's County Fire Chief, Ben Barksdale. "So it's going to take some time, how long I don't know."

Chief Barksdale said some closure came Friday when Lumpkin was sentenced to four years in prison. Because he thought he was firing in self-defense, Lumpkin wasn't charged for the three shootings, only for Illegal possession of a firearm.

"As far as what the penalty was for that, it is what it is as far as what the state's attorney brought forth and what the judge decided," Barksdale said.

He said that now that court proceedings are finished, the fire department conduct its own investigation of what happened. Barksdale said he anticipates changes to come on policies regarding safety.



 

 

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