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Aurora Fire Chief Welcomes Independent Review In Theater Shooting Response

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An image from the scene (credit: Aurora Police Department)

An image from the scene (credit: Aurora Police Department)

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AURORA, Colo. (CBS4) – The Aurora City Council will decide whether it needs an independent review of last summer’s shootings at the Century 16 Theater where 12 people died.

The council will vote on whether to let an outside group scrutinize the police and fire response.

4 On Your Side Investigator Rick Sallinger has been studying the internal report and dispatch tapes. Some initial reports indicated it took more than 20 minutes for Aurora fire personnel to arrive at the theater. But Fire Chief Mike Garcia told Sallinger Monday that was the time to reach the inside of Theater 9, where all the survivors had already been removed. Help to others came more quickly.

It took less than 3 minutes from the time the shooting began for a rural metro ambulance contracted with Aurora Fire to arrive at the scene. Three minutes later the first Aurora fire engine arrived with a paramedic on board, but its access was slowed by a paving operation, a full lot, and a police perimeter already established.

The fire department has already analyzed its response in the report. It details the dispatches and maps where victims were located on different sides of the building.

The rush of 1,400 people from the theater made a chaotic scene even more so.

Garcia welcomes an independent review, and so does Councilwoman Barb Cleland.

“My personal opinion, I think police and fire did an outstanding job,” Cleland said. “There may be lessons that we learn that things need to be changed when we have mass causalities.”

With so many victims and not enough ambulances, officers transported victims to the hospital in their cars.

Mayor Steve Hogan issued a statement saying they did not proceed until now because of a request by the district attorney. He said it’s time to tell the story of countless heroic acts, and the review will allow that story to be told.

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