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Fla. firefighters recall stabbing attack in ambulance

Jacksonville Fire Capt. Latorrence Norris and Engineer Vincent Harper spoke publicly for the first time after being attacked by a patient

By Laura French

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Two Jacksonville firefighter who survived a stabbing attack by a patient in October spoke publicly for the first time about the violent incident.

Jacksonville Fire and Rescue Capt. Latorrence Norris and Engineer Vincent Harper were both stabbed in an ambulance while transporting a man who said he was feeling sick, according to News 4 Jax.

Harper was driving the ambulance while Norris was in the back with the patient, who suddenly became aggressive and grabbed a box cutter from Norris’ pocket.

“We were a couple blocks from the hospital. That’s when he pretty much flipped out,” Norris said.

Harper pulled over when he noticed the struggle and came to Norris’ aid, helping him pin down the man until more first responders arrived. Harper was also slashed in the leg with the box cutter.

If Harper hadn’t intervened, “I would be dead right now,” Norris said. “There’s not a doubt in my mind.”

The captain sustained serious lacerations to his torso, a collapsed lung and significant blood loss, and spent nearly a week in the hospital following the incident.

Harper was named firefighter of the year at his department by Chief Keith Powers last week.

“(Norris) would’ve done the same for me,” the engineer said. “I think anybody on the department would’ve done the same for anybody else.”

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