CANARSIE — The two EMTs who came to the aid of a rookie police officer wounded in a Crown Heights gunfight Wednesday night said they would have been long gone if not for a phone call a minute before the shooting.
Khadijah Hall and Shaun Alexander, who have more than 48 years of experience between them, were off duty and about to drive away from a White Castle parking lot when Hall took a call from a friend around 5 p.m.
“About a minute later, I heard two shots,” Hall said Thursday as she replayed the dramatic events. “I turned to my right and I saw a gentleman running down the block, and he turned around and started shooting behind him.”
Rookie officers James Li, 26, and Randy Chow, 30, had confronted Rashaun Robinson, 26, as he tried to board the back of a B46 bus on Utica Avenue and Empire Boulevard Wednesday about 5 p.m., police said.
Robinson, 26, who is wanted in Pennsylvania on drug charges, took off with the officers in pursuit, the NYPD said.
As the chase entered the White Castle parking lot where the off-duty medics were sitting in their car. Robinson opened fire, striking Li in both legs, before fleeing, police said.
“Shortly thereafter, I saw an officer taking some shots at him,” she added. “About 10 seconds later, the officer went down.”
Once the gunfire ceased, Hall and Alexander grabbed an equipment bag in Hall’s trunk and rushed over to Li and his partner.
“He was nervous,” Alexander said of Li. “When we got there, he was all concerned that he was shot all over. We said, ‘We got you.’”
Added Hall: “We saw the bullet hole in his leg. We saw it in his pants. Immediately, (Alexander) cut off the pants.”
The pair applied pressure to the wounds and then waited with the wounded officer and his partner for an ambulance to arrive.
Li was rushed to Kings County Hospital, where he was expected to undergo surgery.
Police later nabbed Robinson on the fifth floor of an apartment building at 455 Schenectady Ave., the NYPD said.
Officers recovered his .45-caliber Smith & Wesson revolver. Shell casings found at the scene matched bullets from the weapon, police said.
The NYPD was still searching Thursday afternoon for another man who tried to hop on the back of the bus with Robinson.
Hall and Alexander shook off the notion that they were heroes and said they were just in the right place at the right time.
“My phone ringing is what kept me there,” Hall said. “A minute before that, I was going to drive off.”