A young paramedic has been stabbed 50 times in a McDonald’s parking lot after being ‘stalked’ from his ambulance, police claim.
Steven Tougher, 29, was nearing the end of his shift when he sat in the back of his ambulance on Queen Street outside a McDonald’s in Campbelltown, southwest Sydney, at 5.30am on Friday.
While taking his meal break, police claimed the back doors were pulled open by Jordan Fineanganofo, 21, who then stabbed Mr Tougher in the stomach.
The paramedic was rushed to Liverpool Hospital in critical condition but could not be saved.
According to a police statement, Fineanganofo pulled up in his car next to Mr Tougher’s ambulance and chased him for 30 seconds before unleashing his frenzied attack, the Daily telegram reported.
A young paramedic (center, Steven Tougher) was stabbed 50 times in a McDonald’s parking lot after being ‘stalked’ from his ambulance, police allege
Police allege Mr Tougher’s attacker stood over him as he stabbed him over and over while he was ‘completely defenceless’ and sandwiched between Fineanganofo’s car and the ambulance.
Passersby tried to talk Fineanganofo down or kick him but were reportedly unable to stop his rampage, police say.
Fineanganofo was then tasered by police before being arrested and charged over the incident.
Fineanganofo did not appear before Parramatta’s bail court on Saturday, while his lawyer Javid Faiz told the court his client had not applied for a release.
According to court documents, Fineanganofo was diagnosed with psychosis in 2021, but was never given any medication for his condition.
Outside court, Mr Faiz said the accused was aware of the serious crime he was accused of despite having serious mental health issues.
Fineanganofo’s case has been postponed to June 28.
Mr. Tougher’s wife Madison, his parents Jillian and Jeff, and his sister Jess made an emotional statement Saturday afternoon.
They also provided two photos: one of Mr. Tougher in his parade uniform and another of the whole family on his wedding day five weeks ago.
“Steven’s dedication to helping others was best expressed while working as a NSW Ambulance paramedic and before that as a nurse,” the family said.
But it wasn’t just his medical expertise that made him exceptional — Steven’s compassion touched the lives of so many people.
“He had a way of calming fears, offering words of comfort and showing kindness in the midst of chaotic or traumatic events.
“Steven had an uncanny ability to connect with people, really understand their needs, and provide care with genuine warmth and empathy.
‘He was always ready with a smile, a kind word or a helping hand and brought joy to those around him.
“As we continue to mourn our beloved husband, father, son and brother, we are grateful for all the love and support we have received from his NSW Ambulance colleagues, his closest friends and family, the greater NSW Health family, NSW police, and community members.
“As we are still processing our loss, our family is requesting privacy at this time.”
Lawyer Faiz said his client Fineanganofo was aware of the seriousness of the crime he is accused of.
“I have explained the violations and he is fully aware of the seriousness,” Mr Faiz said.
Paramedic Steven Tougher (right) married the love of his life, Madison (left), just four weeks before he was stabbed to death outside a McDonald’s in southwest Sydney
Mr. Tougher would be going on paternity leave soon and his and his wife Maddison’s new baby would arrive in a few weeks (pictured Mr. and Mrs. Tougher leaving their marriage together in mid-March)
“My client currently (has) police (at his) bedside and he suffers from a mental health problem.”
After the trial, Fineanganofo’s heartbroken father said the family was “broken.”
“We just want to say we are sorry for the family and for what happened.
“That’s all we can say,” Toketa Fineanganofo told the Saturday Telegraph at his home in southwest Sydney, where Jordan reportedly lived with his parents.
Mr. Tougher, a newlywed couple whose wife is expecting their second child within weeks, has been described as a ‘beautiful soul’ by friends and family.
A GoFundMe campaign has already raised more than $259,000 for his young family.
Tributes have flowed across Australia for the paramedic who was killed on the job.
Prime Minister Anthony Albanese paid tribute to Mr Tougher on Twitter on Friday, calling his death “as shocking as it is tragic”.
On Friday, NSW Deputy Police Commissioner Mal Lanyon said Mr Tougher ‘wanted nothing more than to serve his community’.
NSW Secretary of Health Susan Pearce burst into tears as she addressed the death.
“I want to express my deepest condolences to the paramedic’s wife and family,” she said.
NSW Premier Chris Minns said the stabbing was a “terrible situation” for the entire paramedic fraternity to experience.
“It’s a reminder that it’s a very difficult and dangerous job,” Mr Minns said
Jordan Fineanganofo, 21, was arrested at the scene and taken to Campbelltown Police Station where he was later charged
Mr. Tougher had married the love of his life, Madison, just five weeks earlier.
Excited family members shared videos and photos of the happy bride and groom on the special day on social media.
“Mr. and Mrs. Tougher,” the groom proudly posted the next day.
Footage and photos show the couple doing their wedding waltz, celebrating with loved ones and on the dance floor with guests.
“We couldn’t be more proud of our boy on his wedding day,” his mother wrote at the time.
“What a magical day!”
Mr. Tougher’s tragic death has prompted an outpouring of tributes from grief-stricken friends and colleagues, along with messages of support for his wife and family.
Many have changed their profile picture to the NSW Ambulance logo surrounded by angel wings in honor of the fallen paramedic.
‘Life is not fair. Life is too short. Especially for you Steven Tougher,” one woman wrote.
“I remember our days when you were a cadet, that absolute sharp bean who wanted to take over patients and get involved as much as possible — eventually becoming a nurse and then a paramedic when your dream job became a reality.
“To Mr. and Mrs. Tougher, I am so sorry for the loss of your son.
“Madison, I can’t imagine the pain you’re going through right now. Just know that he will be in your heart for every future moment of your life.”
A former nursing colleague added: What a tragic loss. I can’t believe you’re gone. I remember your first days when you started nursing at Lawrence Hargraves as an AIN, you said from the start I want to be a Paramedic and that’s exactly what you did. you worked so hard to get there because your passion was to help other such a kind and caring soul. My heart breaks for all of your family and many friends and colleagues.’
A friend wrote: “No words can explain how unfair this is. Steven Tougher, sir, you were truly an angel who lived among us and what happened to you is beyond devastating.
Tributes were paid at the scene of the tragedy on Friday, as family and friends online paid tribute to Mr Tougher
“Mate, I know it’s a pretty general line that gets used a lot in times like this, but as far as you’re concerned, it’s definitely on the money, ‘Buddy, it’s been a blessing to have known you and been blessed to have the warmth of having experienced your beautiful soul.’
“Calm down, big guy.”
NSW Ambulance Commissioner Dominic Morgan met Madison in the hours following the attack, as well as Mr Tougher’s mother, father and sister and said they were ‘beside themselves’.
He said Mr. Tougher’s father had told him that he knew from the age of five that he wanted to be a paramedic.
“He wanted nothing more than to serve his community,” Commissioner Morgan said.
‘He was with us for a relatively short time and had recently learned that he had been transferred back to south-west Sydney.
“I was told he was so happy to be able to stay here and raise his family.”
Commissioner Morgan also sent his best wishes to Mr. Tougher’s family and colleagues.
“I have so much respect for the way (Mr. Tougher’s family) are processing their grief, and I wish such wonderful things for the man’s paramedic colleagues who worked valiantly to resuscitate and save their paramedic’s life – sadly should it not be,’ he said.