The Bellmore volunteer firefighter shot by a crash victim March 1 as he responded to a call returns to work next week, and he said he has a whole new perspective on life.
No longer is Justin Angell afraid of what might happen. And Angell, 20, now wants a career in law enforcement.
Angell said he can't wait to get back to his schedule after recovering from the gunshot wound to his side. Angell was shot during what was supposed to be a routine call to aid an auto accident victim. The victim, police said, was a disturbed man who opened fire on his would-be rescuers. The gunman, Jason Beller, 31, of Commack, was shot dead by a Nassau County officer at the scene.
"It's been a long three months." Angell said Thursday. "I just wanted to go back. I love being here going to calls, I love work."
The incident, said Angell, has prompted him to look at his life differently. Now more than ever, he said he's interested in a career in law enforcement. Specifically, he wants to become a Suffolk County police officer, and on June 11 Angell will take the test to qualify for the job.
He still regrets missing a planned trip to Punta Cana, Dominican Republic, with his high school buddies in March.
Angell returns to his full-time job as an emergency medical technician for the Brentwood Legion Ambulance on Tuesday, but he said he's been volunteering for the past two weeks. His first call was a false alarm.
While he recovered, Angell hung out with friends. He's been to three Yankees games. He also couldn't run or play volleyball in his leisure.
For some reason, the thought of having a near-death experience hasn't set in, he said. And he still gets embarrassed at all the attention he's received.
He's also grateful.
A couple of weeks after the shooting, Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano presented Angell with the Nassau County Valor Award.
"It's funny. People recognize me and ask me how I'm doing all the time," Angell said. "It's a good feeling."
His brother Dean Angell, 23, who also volunteers with the Bellmore Fire Department and drove Justin to the hospital, said he's happy his brother is alive. He said he missed going on emergency runs with him because they work so well together. "I know what he can do, he knows what I can do," he said.
Daniel Holl, first assistant fire chief, said everyone is glad to have Angell back. "It's good to see him. He's very lucky."
Angell said everybody has asked him if he really wanted go back to volunteering after what he's gone through.
"I'm not going to be worried and nervous now," he said. "I'm not going to be scared. A little cautious maybe, but that's not going to stop the normal way I work."