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.

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.