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Communications failure cited in Aurora shootings

AURORA, Colo. — Police and fire officials failed to tell each other when and where rescuers were needed following the Aurora theater shootings, according to reports obtained by the Denver Post that portray a chaotic scene.

The reports and a fire department internal review obtained by the Post through an open-records request provided more information about when emergency responders arrived and when they were notified there were gunshot victims at the rear of Theater 9.

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By that time, ambulances were stuck behind parked cars, police vehicles, and 1,400 fleeing moviegoers.

‘‘We didn’t really hear the cry for people needed at the rear of the theater until [later],’’ said Aurora Deputy Fire Chief Danny Wilcox.

That notification from fire dispatch to emergency medical workers was 17 minutes after the shooting was reported at 12:38 a.m. on July 20. A fire commander had directed ambulances to a nearby staging area to await further instructions. Police officers had been telling their dispatchers they needed medical help at the rear of the theater for at least seven minutes.

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