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Ducey orders flags at half-staff to honor fallen EMT

Flags will be flown at half-staff Saturday to honor Jacob Dindinger, an emergency medical technician in Tucson, who died Thursday night from injuries sustained in a shooting rampage that led to the deaths of four people, and injured three more, Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey said in a statement Friday.

Dindinger, 20, was critically injured on July 18 when he and his partner were shot while waiting to respond to a fire at Silverlake Park, near the Quincie Douglas Community Center. His partner, identified by officials as a 22-year-old woman was hit in the chest and arm, but was able to treat Dindinger who had been hit four times.

The gunman later fired on firefighters, shot and killed a neighbor, and was then seriously wounded by a Tucson police officer when he attempted to flee the scene.

"Jacob Dindinger was a brave, selfless member of our community whose life was taken far too soon," said Governor Ducey. "Arizona’s deepest prayers are with Jacob’s family, loved ones, his fellow first-responders and everyone who has been impacted by the senseless, violent act that took place while he was working to help and protect others. In honor of Jacob’s life and service to our state, I’ve ordered flags be lowered to half-staff."

Family members said that Dindinger had been working for AMR since March 2021, and described him as a dedicated individual who was quickly working his way toward becoming a paramedic, with the eventual goal of becoming a firefighter like his older brother.

Originally from Long Beach, Calif., Dindinger moved to Tucson nine years ago. He attended Canyon del Oro High School, where he played baseball for three years, and graduated in 2019. Dindinger set his sights on becoming an EMT after he visited his brother Bryan Presetti, a firefighter, in Long Beach. Dindinger enrolled at the EMT program at Pima Community College in 2019, and graduated in May 2021.

"Jacob's long-term dream and goal was to be a firefighter like his older brother, but he wanted to accomplish that goal quicker than Bryan," the family said in a statement released last week. Jacob wanted to travel, and through the summer of 2020 he worked to become a SCUBA diver. "His goal after becoming certified was to take the opportunity to travel and see all the beautiful sights under the sea," they said.

"In the past, he would travel to Long Beach so he could see Bryan, but he always wanted to have the opportunity to go other places and see something different," they said. "One of the most important things in Jacob’s life is his family. Family means everything to Jacob, and he is happiest when he is with his family."

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Dindinger is one of four people killed because of that day's violence, including the gunman, 35-year-old Leslie Scarlett. Scarlett shot and killed Jennifer A. Fells, 36, at a south Tucson home, left her body and set the house aflame.

Scarlett left the burning home and went to Silverlake Park where he fired on Dindinger and his partner.

Scarlett then returned to the burning house, where he shot at two neighbors who were attempting to help, injuring one man, and killing 44-year-old Cory Saunders. Scarlett then shot at responding firefighters, hitting a TFD captain in the arm.

Moments later Scarlett fled, ramming into a police cruiser driven by Tucson Police Officer Danny Leon. As Leon emerged from his vehicle, Scarlett shot at him, and Leon fired 6 shots, hitting Scarlett in the head, police said.

Scarlett died at Banner University Medical Center last week.

On a fundraising page, Dindinger's family said he had "a pure heart and smile that never goes unnoticed, as it brightens every room he walks into, adding that, "His sharp wit and sense of humor never fails to make those around him laugh."

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Courtesy the Dindinger family

Jacob's first day on the job at AMR Tucson.