A woman stabbed an emergency medical technician from behind inside an ambulance in downtown Boston Wednesday afternoon, authorities said, prompting police to close the area as they investigated.
The EMT received multiple stab wounds, Boston police Chief William Gross said, while her partner was also taken to Massachusetts General Hospital to be treated for exposure to a chemical spray the assailant used. The attacker is in police custody.
While the wounded EMT, a 14-year veteran of the force, was bleeding heavily, she is expected to recover, Boston Emergency Medical Services Chief James Hooley said.
In-depth news coverage of the Greater Boston Area.
Boston EMS said around 9:15 p.m. that she was out of surgery.
"She is awake and surrounded by her loved ones and her EMS family tonight," the organization said in a statement.
The second EMT was treated and released from the hospital.
The pair of responders had been called for a report of a possibly emotionally disturbed person, Hooley said. When in the back of the ambulance, on the way to the hospital, that woman used a weapon to attack the first EMT.
The second EMT, a 10-year veteran, was sprayed with a chemical like Mace.
"They save lives, they did not deserve to be attacked," Gross said. "That's also to remind the public, too, that this is a dangerous job that we have in our first responder family."
The attacker was identified by police as Julie Tejeda, a 31-year-old from East Boston. She was being held on three assault and battery charges and was scheduled to appear in court Thursday morning. It wasn't immediately clear if she had an attorney.
The EMT was severely injured during a routine call for help, the president of the EMS union told NBC10 Boston Investigators. The EMT was stabbed four times by a person who became combative on the way to the hospital, Michael MacNeil said.
"The constant fear of assault with weapons, being spit at, punched and kicked," MacNeil said. "Every EMT faces this everyday."
Mayor Marty Walsh visited the EMT in the hospital, Hooley said, and Walsh later tweeted, "Our first responders put their lives on the line everyday working to protect our residents and keep them safe. I wish the EMTs involved in this traumatic incident a speedy recovery."
Police received a report of a possible stabbing about 4 p.m. near New Chardon Street and Bowker Street, a police representative said.
Police later said the victim of a stabbing was taken to a local hospital; they didn't have information on their condition, though the Boston police Twitter account said the stabbing victim was alive.
"Due to an active investigation relative to a non-fatal stabbing in the area of Bowker and New Chardon Streets, motorists and pedestrians are being asked to avoid the area and seek alternate routes," police tweeted.
A Boston EMS representative initially said the agency was "dealing with an active situation."
"There is no such thing as a routine call,” said Boston Police Commissioner William Gross. “The EMTs did not deserve this. Every day they go out and they help people. They save lives.”