Volunteer firefighter Justin Angell was shot at the scene of...

Volunteer firefighter Justin Angell was shot at the scene of a car crash in Bellmore. Credit: Facebook

In the minutes before Bellmore firefighter Justin Angell took a bullet to the back from an assault rifle that could have killed him, he had been a passenger in an ambulance racing to the scene of a truck crash that turned into a shootout.

"Without warning. It was crazy," is how Bellmore Fire Department Chief Robert Taylor, who helped pull Angell into the ambulance, described the scene. "There were gunshots going off everywhere. . . . I just wanted to get him out of there."

Behind the wheel of the ambulance was his older brother, Dean Angell.

To those who know the Angells, the pair arriving on scene together came as no surprise. Public safety runs in the family.

Their dad is a detective in the Nassau County Police Department. Dean and Justin Angell are volunteers with the Bellmore Fire Department. Justin Angell, 20, has worked as a volunteer for three years and he's also an advanced emergency medical technician, Taylor said.

Justin Angell is a Mepham High School graduate who "loves public service, loves Bellmore, loves his family and loves life," said Nassau County Legis. David Denenberg, a family friend who visited Angell at the hospital Wednesday afternoon.

Denenberg said Justin Angell told him he and his brother pulled up to where a truck had slammed into utility pole. Justin Angell jumped out to help and came under fire from the truck's driver, Denenberg said.

The driver, Jason Beller, 31, of Commack, was later shot to death by Nassau police.

He said Angell told him he didn't know he was shot until the pain set in sometime later. Angell told Denenberg he thought the sounds of the shots came from a downed transformer. Angell is expected to recover.

George Hauck, a spokesman for Brentwood Legion Ambulance, where Justin Angell works full-time, said in an e-mail that he is an "emergency medical technician with great skill and very proud to be part of the EMS and fire service here on Long Island."

Wednesday, Angell noted on his Facebook page that he was recovering.

"im still in icu but I feel ok just got up and walked a bit," he wrote.

With Andrew Strickler

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