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Statement: Communication problems plagued Columbia shooting response

Columbia police on Volunteer Drive
ABC 17 News
Columbia police respond to a quintuple shooting on Volunteer Drive early Sunday, July 5, 2020.

COLUMBIA, Mo. (KMIZ)

A police request for medics at the scene of a quintuple shooting July 5 was not appropriately relayed to first responders, the city of Columbia and other organizations said in a joint statement Monday.

Five people were shot in a chaotic scene early July 5 in the area of Volunteer Drive and Grace Lane. Five people were shot and two died -- ages 11 and 38.

Agencies took a closer look at the response after medics did not enter the scene. Police loaded the shooting victims into vehicles and took them to hospitals after the shooting.

Representatives of the Columbia Police Department, University of Missouri Health Care, Boone Hospital Center and Boone County Joint Communications met to discuss the findings Thursday, according to the joint statement.

"During the July 9 debrief, the agencies reviewed the radio traffic, as well as each agency’s established protocols for responding to active crime scenes," the statement says. "It became apparent during the review that on scene communication was at times unclear among the emergency responders."

The agencies determined police at the scene requested medics, that medics were waiting outside the scene to hear it was stable and secure enough for them to enter and that "the request for medics by law enforcement was not relayed as expected."

In the audio recording from the Columbia Fire Department channel and the EMS channel, the dispatcher announces that law enforcement has said the scene is stable and medics can go in. Medics were staged in the area.

Radio traffic also suggests medics were working to find victims that were with Columbia police officers, but officers had already begun to transport victims to the hospital themselves.

You can find the audio files below:

Main Law Channel
EMS channel
Columbia Fire channel

The statement noted that agencies use several different radio channels at such scenes to keep officers and others from talking over each other.

The statement says the agencies will begin monitoring cross-radio traffic to ensure better communication; that police will provide clear communication to first responders at violent crime scenes; that agencies will participate in ride-alongs with other agencies; and that joint training scenarios will be developed.

Police have detained a 16-year-old in connection with the shooting on suspicion of second-degre murder, armed criminal action and unlawful use of a weapon.

Check back or watch ABC 17 News at 9 and 10 for more on this developing story.

Boone / Columbia / Email Alert – Breaking News / Homicide / News / Shooting / Top Stories
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Matthew Sanders

Matthew Sanders is the digital content director at ABC 17 News.

Comments

2 Comments

  1. I listened to the scanner that night. There was no question what was ask for and what was denied including medics trying to call the CPR on the child. The officer responded it was not their call to make. The city needs to publish the Radio records and body cams of all involved. This was criminal negligence that caused loss of life!

  2. See the EMS related transcript below. Hopefully the formatting is not too bad.

    The joint statement completely glosses over the issue of EMS/Fire telling the cops to stop performing CPR. Why the lack of transparency on this?

    Who said: “CPR in progress is J-4 (J-4 = Dead On Arrival) leave that alone” Was it Fire Chief 6 or or the EMS supervisor 22? Were they on the scene when they said this? Did they personally assess the patient? The police woman’s incredulous reaction shows how outrageous this statement was.

    The EMS Supervisor (Unit number EMS22) was listening to the police radio channel the whole time. Do the police have to say the “magic word” to get EMS to come into the scene to help people? What BS.

    In the end, after the police and dispatchers begged EMS to come to the scene and ultimately drove the patients to the hospital themselves seven minutes after requesting EMS, one of the EMS crews had the gall to say the police “couldn’t wait two seconds” for EMS to get there.

    There are a lot of unanswered questions still. The media should press these agencies for more transparency.

    Time Unit Identification Audio (and notes)

    00:21 Sheriff Deputy Can I get a couple more units? (at Volunteer. Law enforcement was close by when the shots were fired)

    00:21 Boone County (Police Dispatcher): Any Columbia Units to assist …at Volunteer and Grace

    00:22 Male Officer We just had what we believe are shots fired on Volunteer there are several people running all around the neighborhood there

    00:22 Boone County (Police Dispatcher): We possibly have reports of a victim

    00:23 Boone County (Police Dispatcher): Main Law (radio channel) is restricted for Volunteer and Grace (this is done when a lot of Police units are responding to an event. Radio traffic for other parts of town has to use the secondary radio channel)

    00:24 Fire/EMS Computer Dispatch: (tones) Quint 5, Quint 4 (These are two fire truck unit numbers); medical emergency; unstable scene; Volunteer Drive and Grace Lane

    00:25 Male Officer: Still a lot of people moving around by victim

    00:26 Fire Dispatcher: Quint 5 you are responding with law enforcement, Medic 111, Medic 251 (medic=ambulance), EMS 22, receiving multiple calls for shots fired, multiple patients
    00:26 Fire Dispatcher: EMS 22, We just received report, we have a possible third victim, would you like to send out another bus? (= ambulance)
    00:26 EMS 22 (EMS Supervisor): Yes, go ahead and attach a third unit.
    00:26 Fire/EMS Computer Dispatch: (tones) Medic 161, make the alarm, medical emergency, unstable scene, Volunteer Drive and Grace Lane (third ambulance dispatched)

    00:27 Quint 5 Can you give me the total number of patients as soon as you can?

    00:27 Fire Dispatcher Quint 5, possibly three patients at this time, three.
    00:27 Quint 5 How many ambulances do you have in route?

    00:27 Fire Dispatcher Quint 5, We have three buses (ambulances), EMS supervisor and Chief 6 is also aware

    00:27 Female Officer Formally requesting County and State aid

    00:27 Male Officer: I need medics emergency! (Police urgently requesting ambulances to come to the scene. NOT requesting medics stage off site)

    00:28 Quint 5 to Fire Dispatch Received Thanks

    00:28 EMS22 EMS 22 to Quint 5
    00:28 Quint5 Quint 5 , go ahead

    00:28 EMS22 You guys pick us a spot to stage at and we’ll (3 ambulances) meet you all there just let us know where at

    Quint 5 Grace Lane and St. Charles

    EMS22 Copy Grace Lane and St Charles
    Quint5 Correct

    00:29 Male Officer: I need crowd control at 5406 (Volunteer)

    00:29 EMS22 Copy that, All units, medic units copy that Grace Lane and St. Charles for staging

    00:29 EMS22 Any EMS units it sounds like it is a pretty unstable scene right now still

    00:29 Fire Dispatcher Boone County, fire and EMS units responding Volunteer and Grace, Stage Level 2 at Grace and St Charles (@Steve Sapp – What does “Stage Level 2” mean?)

    00:30 EMS 22 Go ahead and alert the University (hospital) of the possible patient count
    00:30 Fire Dispatcher EMS22 00:30 after

    00:31 Male Officer: We are going to have them(medics?) Load and Go right at Grace and Volunteer right at the very entrance to it

    00:31 Medic ???? (Loud vehicle sirens in background) County where is that one at with CPR in progress? Can they extricate out to the edge?

    00:31 Chief 6 “CPR in progress is J-4 (J-4 = Dead On Arrival) leave that alone”

    00:32 time check (Unrelated radio traffic)

    00:32 Female Officer: We have a female victim; CPR in progress; she’s in the middle of the road she’s going first

    00:32 Boone County (Police Dispatcher): CPR in progress, female victim needed first for ambulance

    00:32 EMS 22 I can help them with that 12 year old if they need. We are close, I don’t sure where the medic units are on the map.

    Male Officer: Boone County, check with units, we have fire in the area can they respond in?

    Boone County (Police Dispatcher): (Female officer) Can units respond in?

    00:33 Female Officer: Go! Where are my medics!? (She would not have said this if she did not want the medics to come to her location immediately)

    00:33 Boone County (Police Dispatcher): “Medics are advising to abandon CPR. We are getting them.”

    00:33 Female Officer: “OK, they don’t get to decide that.”

    00:33 Boone County (Police Dispatcher): “They are not willing to come in. If you guys can transport the patient away from the scene. Per medics.”

    00:33 EMS22 We are trying to tell them the one in the street with CPR is J-4

    00:34 Female Officer: “Eehhh (voice cracking with emotion)..Copy, Get them as close as they can!”

    00:34 Boone County (Police Dispatcher): “Apologies, We have told them that. They are not responding in. We will try again” (to get the medics to respond in)

    00:34 Male Officer: We are taking the 12 year old victim to the ER on our own.

    00:34 Medic 111 (ambulance crew) Medic 111 is on scene. (at Volunteer and Grace Lane)

    00:35 Chief 6 I am on scene St Charles and Grace. (this is really staging and not the scene)

    00:38 Medic 211 No more patients on scene. CPD transported them. They couldn’t wait two seconds.

    00:39 12 year old arrived at University

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