Fellow EMTs turned out Thursday for the arraignment of an East Boston woman accused of stabbing an EMT inside an ambulance.
Julie Tejeda, 31, is accused of stabbing an unidentified female EMT as she tried to treat Tejeda in the back of an ambulance Wednesday afternoon.
Tejeda, who faces charges including assault with intent to murder, was ordered held without bail as she undergoes a 20-day psychiatric evaluation.
Prosecutors say Tejeda became agitated during an ambulance ride from East Boston to Massachusetts General Hospital and proceeded to stab the EMT and assault her, and use pepper spray on the ambulance driver.
Suffolk County District Attorney Rachael Rollins acknowledged the suspect may very likely be suffering from mental illness, but said the charges are very serious.
"We have a lot of understanding when people with substance use disorder and mental health issues self-harm. And we have compassion," she said. "But when they turn that harm upon our community it's harder to balance their needs versus keeping our community safe."
Boston EMS chief Jim Hooley says the injured EMT is expected to fully recover. She was released from the hospital Thursday evening.
More than 100 EMTs and recruits, all in crisp, brown uniforms, milled about before the arraignment at Boston Municipal Court. Dozens of the EMTs then packed the courtroom for the proceeding.
Michael MacNeil, the president of the Boston Police Patrolmen's Association's EMS division, says there was a large turnout because EMTs are all a family.
"Unfortunately this is a situation our EMTs are faced with daily," he said. "And this horrific attack on two of our members last night, it's a culmination of things that have been going on over the past few years. They're all here to show their support."
In an email to all Boston EMS employees Thursday, MacNeil had asked for "solidarity" during the suspect's arraignment, whom he called a "scumbag."
When pressed about his use of the term, MacNeil said, “I don’t know this person [the suspect] personally. We were upset. Everyone was upset last night.”
Rollins was also willing to give MacNeil a pass for his characterization.
“When someone you love and work with every day or both is significantly injured while doing their job, I would never hold anyone accountable for using language that might be questionable, even if it is,” Rollins said. “I have no issue with those words. I understand emotions run high and I understand why he said it."
This article was originally published on July 11, 2019.
This segment aired on July 11, 2019.