HOLLYWOOD, Fla. — Robert Wood saves lives for a living, so he was worried when he saw a go-kart whiz past his Hollywood, Fla., home Sunday night.
Wood, 42, a Coral Springs firefighter and paramedic, yelled at the go-kart driver to stop, saying he could hurt himself or someone else.
The go-kart driver, later identified as Ronald Khan, approached Wood.
The two men got into an argument.
Minutes later, the off-duty firefighter was on the ground, shot once in the stomach.
Police and witnesses say Khan, 35, pulled the trigger.
“He’s a nut case, a hoodlum,” said Donald Pruitt, a neighbor and longtime friend of Wood who witnessed the shooting. “He should have never shot Bobby. He didn’t do anything.”
Rescue workers rushed Wood to Memorial Regional Hospital, where he underwent emergency surgery. Officials say the bullet pierced Wood’s intestines and kidney, but that he is expected to recover.
A few hours after the 9:19 p.m. shooting, police arrested Khan at his Hollywood home. Investigators say Khan confessed. He was charged with one count of aggravated battery with a firearm. Police recovered the gun.
He was booked into a Broward jail, but was released on $10,000 bond Monday afternoon.
Those who know Wood say he was likely looking out for Khan’s well-being, not looking for trouble.
“He is really more of a problem solver, as opposed to a problem starter,” said his girlfriend, Jennifer Veasey of Birmingham, Ala. “He doesn’t like to see or hear anyone argue. He steps in to try and help resolve things.”
Wood, a graduate of McArthur High in Hollywood, attended the police academy, but decided he’d rather be a firefighter and paramedic. He volunteered with Coral Springs for three years before the fire department hired him in October 2005.
Wood spent the holiday weekend visiting Veasey and her two children in Birmingham. He flew back to South Florida on Sunday afternoon to have Easter dinner with his neighbors, Donald and Beatrice Pruitt.
Later, Wood and the Pruitts sat outside, chatting under the carport.
Their discussion was interrupted by the loud go-kart something Donald Pruitt says he hears often along his dead-end street in the 500 block of North 60th Way.
“They always come down there fast,” Pruitt said. “They got no respect.”
According to Pruitt, Wood went out and told Khan he was a paramedic and that riding the go-kart was dangerous.
The two men argued and Wood pushed Khan to the ground, police said.
Khan took off on the go-kart. About 10 minutes later, he walked back to the house with a gun and a group of friends.
Khan, who has a concealed-weapons permit, shot Wood and ran away toward a gray Lincoln Town Car, witnesses told investigators.
Police spent several hours interviewing witnesses, who led them to Khan.
According to public records, Khan has been arrested twice before in Florida on an obstruction-of-justice charge in Fort Lauderdale and a misdemeanor battery charge in Hollywood.Both cases were dropped.