Omaha Fire: Everything possible done to save July 4th shooting victim

Published: Jul. 6, 2021 at 5:59 PM CDT
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OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - The Omaha Fire Department said Tuesday that its first-responders did everything they could to save a 19-year-old woman killed in a July 4th shooting.

Responding to criticism from a private security company owner, Omaha Fire Department officials said the scene was so chaotic, it took EMTs six minutes from that initial 911 call to get to 24th and Lake streets, where the shooting happened.

As shots were fired into a crowd, dozens of people ran for safety.

“There were hundreds of people running around the scene when paramedics arrived. They were actually delayed to the scene because of numerous people fleeing in vehicles and running across the street,” said Scott Fitzpatrick, battalion chief.

Treshawn Abram, who operates a private security company and was working crowd control at a nearby bar when the shots were fired, raised questions about OFD’s response time.

“What I found disturbing was that Omaha Fire and Rescue decided to wait to assist with us in CPR,” Abram said.

Bodycam footage released to 6 News was too graphic to share, but it does show police arriving at the scene within 90 seconds.

The video shows an Omaha Police officer start CPR on 19-year-old Jazsmine Washington almost immediately. At the same time, other officers worked to make the scene safe so paramedics could enter, which is protocol.

“Scene safety is the number one priority for our paramedics and our firefighters that go to the scene. We wait until the scene is secure for the shooting,” Fitzpatrick said.

Omaha Fire officials said the scene was secured by police while they were on the way. They got to Washington and immediately began aid, taking over for police already doing CPR.

At one point during the body camera footage, a security guard on scene told an EMT that the victim’s arm was broken and she needed a neck brace.

Then you hear this: “Hang on… let’s do this right. We are on camera.’”

“Nothing changes when we are on camera and when we aren’t on camera. We do the same life-saving techniques that we always do. This particular instance from talking with one of the captains that was there was more of a ‘hey, gather yourself, make sure we are doing everything we need to do,’” Fitzpatrick said.

Officials say EMTs left for the hospital 10 minutes after arriving on the scene. They say that the time frame is typical for a critical patient.

“Any scene time under 10 minutes is what we strive for. The faster the better. But some are more chaotic than others.”

OFD says it often work in partnership with the Omaha Police Department to make sure things are safe and patients get the critical care they need. The Omaha Fire Department also says at this scene, the initial call came out as numerous victims.

Those additional victims were not found at the scene and later arrived at the hospital by private cars.

Omaha Police released this statement to 6 News:

“Every scene is different and the response can vary depending on the specific circumstances of the incident. Officers must discern between what information they are provided via 911 and their observations as they arrive at the scene on how they will respond. Safety is of the highest importance for both the citizens and officers on scene.

Once the scene is deemed safe by responding officers, officers will attempt to render medical aid to anyone who is injured until medical assistance arrives. Shooting scenes are often secured for safety by police first, and then paramedics are allowed into the scene to assist with medical aid. Again, how all of this unfolds is often dependent on the circumstances at the time and the officer’s discretion.”

Omaha Police Department

The responding officer observed in the video providing life-saving measures called for an ambulance and began CPR within 21 seconds of arriving at the scene. All OPD officers are CPR certified.

A GoFundMe has been set up to cover the funeral expenses for the family of Jazsmine Washington.

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