EMS response under review after police transport Mo. shooting victims

Columbia police and MU Health Care will review whether protocols were followed after paramedics stayed back due to safety concerns


Pat Pratt
Columbia Daily Tribune, Mo.

COLUMBIA, Mo. — Columbia police and MU Health Care are reviewing paramedics' response to a double homicide early Sunday to see if communications and protocols were followed after officers transported victims while paramedics were staged nearby.

Police Chief Geoff Jones said during a Sunday afternoon press conference reporting the shooting deaths of 38-year-old Tara Knedler and Ri'ajauhna, 11, that paramedics did not immediately respond to the wounded out of safety concerns.

"We are reviewing the incident to ensure our process and communications will provide the best service," Jones said Monday in an email response. "Part of our review will include MU EMS and city fire."

MU Health Care also issued a statement offering condolences for the victims, which included three others shot who sustained what police describe as non-life threatening injuries.

"MU Health Care's Emergency Medical Services team is working closely with other agencies that responded to the incident to review the on-scene communication," the statement reads. "Responding to active incidents can be challenging, as many agencies are working to coordinate their services, secure the scene and treat those injured in a dynamic environment."

Jesslyn Chew, MU Health Care spokeswoman, was asked what latitude paramedics have in determining whether to respond to a scene. However, she too had questions on that policy and said she would provide an update as soon as it is available.

"From what I've gathered so far, it sounds like there are some standard operating protocols set by the county for multi-agency responses that include police, fire, EMS, etc. that would influence how and when each agency enters the scene," she said.

Other details are also unknown at this time, such as whether police communicated the scene as safe or unsafe, or if paramedics made that call on their own accord.

The Tribune has filed an open-records request for Boone County Joint Communication dispatch logs. Jones said he, too, will need to review the logs and radio communications before he can answer those questions.

"I will need to conduct further review of the radio transmissions ... and I don't know when I will have that review complete," Jones said.

The shooting happened about 12:15 a.m. Sunday near the intersection of Volunteer Drive and Grace Lane. Jones said preliminary information shows the shooting may have happened after someone unintentionally shot a firework toward a household, but cautioned the investigation was still in the early stages.

Police said Sunday an individual had been detained and another questioned, but no arrests have been announced or charges filed at press time.

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©2020 Columbia Daily Tribune, Mo.

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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