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Pima EMT Graduate Jacob Dindinger Posthumously Honored as “Star of Life” by Global Medical Response

Pima trains first responders - EMT, firefighters and police - who put their lives on the line everyday

Pima Community College graduate and EMT Jacob Dindinger, mortally wounded while on duty by a gunman a year ago this month, was posthumously recognized as a 2022 Star of Life by Global Medical Response (GMR). Also named as a Star of Life was his partner on the day he was shot, EMT Cassandra Moreno.

On July 18 2021, Dindinger and Moreno, working for American Medical Response (AMR) Southern Arizona, were staged two blocks from a working house fire on standby for an unrelated incident. The shooter, Leslie Scarlett, approached the EMT Unit and shot Dindinger in the head and Moreno in the arm and chest. Though badly wounded herself, Moreno managed to describe their conditions and the assailant to dispatchers and render emergency aid to Jacob. He would succumb to his injuries on July 29.

According to GMR, the parent company of AMR, “The Stars of Life program honors EMS professionals who have gone above and beyond the call of duty. Our Stars represent the best of the best as their stories speak to our mission of providing care to the world at a moment’s notice.” The 2022 Stars of Life were announced in May.

"We were fortunate to have Jacob be a part of our local AMR Operations,” said GMR Medical Response Director Jackie Evans. “Working as an EMT is extremely rewarding with the ability to leave a positive impact within your community and serve those in need.  Jacob was truly the person who made a positive impact and served those in need.  Jacob wanted to make a difference in life, not only in his life but in the life of everyone he came in contact with. "

From an AMR Facebook post, “Star of Life honoree Jacob Dindinger is remembered for his faithful service in EMS. His young life was cut short following a senseless and deadly shooting spree that shocked the Tucson area last summer. Jacob left us as a fallen hero, who died in the line of duty ... A dedicated EMS professional who was continually seeking ways to grow in his career, Jacob left a mark on all of us and made an impact on his community with each interaction he had. We are all better people for having been touched by him and his family.” 

Jacob was the son of Jim and Corrine Dindinger and a graduate of Canyon Del Oro High School. He had been on-the-job for four months and hoped to become a firefighter, like his brother Bryan Presetti, a firefighter/engineer in Long Beach, California. He was signed up for the Fire Academy and was applying to Tucson Fire Department.

“He considered it a calling and his first step toward a long and rewarding career,” Corrine Dindinger said last year in an interview for a College publication. “It was something he was very proud of.” 

In her only public comment, an Aug. 3 statement posted on AMR Southern Arizona’s Facebook page, Moreno said: “Though I am not ready to speak publicly, please know we greatly appreciate all the outpouring of support, warm thoughts and concerns. Thank you to AMR and other agencies who are going above and beyond. Thank you to all those involved in both mine and Jake’s care … from the two citizens who ran immediately to render us aid, the 911 dispatcher, the paramedics, the doctors and nurses at banner, and to the police officers who risked their lives to prevent and protect our community from further devastation. My deepest condolences to Jake’s family and all those affected by this tragedy.” (Moreno didn’t attend Pima but is part of our extended Pima community, with members of her family employed now and formerly at Pima).

Pima’s Public Safety Programs train future EMT, paramedics, firefighters and policeman to serve Tucson and the surrounding area. We honor them for putting their lives on the line every day. 

Pima Chancellor Lee D. Lambert said of Dindinger, “Jacob was part of the Pima cohort whose training was interrupted by the COVID pandemic.  And yet he, like his other classmates, persevered. They returned to the College after several months to complete their training and education, and received EMT certificates in July 2020. We are proud of him and his service. 

“Tragedies like this are a reminder that our first responders assist our community in times of crisis, which unfortunately often places their own safety at risk to serve others. I am proud of the education and training that PCC’s Public Safety Programs provide to students who want to serve their communities in this way.” 

  • Global Medical Response 2022 Star of Life Citation for Jacob Dindinger: “Jacob Dindinger is being honored and remembered for his faithful service in EMS. His young life was cut short following a senseless and deadly shooting spree that shocked the Tucson area last summer. Jacob left us as a fallen hero, who died in the line of duty on July 30, 2021. For those who knew him personally, Jacob was a dedicated EMS professional who was continually seeking ways to grow in his career. He was driven, but not arrogant. He knew that failure was a part of life and that it was a setback, but it didn’t have to be the outcome if you chose to pick yourself up and move forward. These are the words that Jacob lived by as he worked hard to succeed in his professional development. Jacob left a mark on all of us and made an impact on his community with each interaction he had. We are all better people for having been touched by him and his family.”

  • Global Medical Response 2022 Star of Life Citation Cassandra Moreno: “Cassandra is being honored for her bravery which was proven when she and her partner were shot at while responding to a call. Cassandra had been working as an EMT for only nine months when a shooter approached her and her partner, Jacob Dindinger, as they were preparing for a medical call. The man opened fire into the cab of the ambulance, shooting Cassandra in the arm; Jacob was struck multiple times. Despite her own injury and concern for Jacob’s life, Cassandra bravely and calmly got on the radio and called for help, providing a detailed description of her assailant and assessment of her and Jacob’s conditions. She then tried to treat Jacob’s wounds until other units arrived. Police were able to find and stop the assailant but unfortunately it was only after he had gone on a deadly shooting spree. There are no words that could fully capture the courage Cassandra demonstrated on that day.”
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