PORT HUENEME (CBSLA) — Ventura County fire officials disputed claims Wednesday that their firefighters refused to help a child who was rushed to a fire station in Port Hueneme after being shot in the head in a nearby home.
On Tuesday evening, a gunman opened fire on a Port Hueneme home striking a 7-year-old girl in the head, leaving her in a coma, and injuring her pregnant mother, Mariam Davis.
It was initially reported by Port Hueneme police that the girl’s father rushed Kaylaana to Ventura County Fire Station 53, where firefighters inside heard the gunfire were notified of the incident.
Mariam was hit twice in the leg.
According to police, the firefighters inside refused to come out and help him because they heard the gunfire and believed they were in danger.
“We believe that they may have felt that they were threatened, or felt that there was still gunfire going on outside of their actual fire station,” Port Hueneme Police Chief Andrew Salinas told reporters at a briefing Wednesday.
The Ventura County Fire Department released a statement Wednesday afternoon stating that firefighters were providing advanced life support services within two minutes after first being notified of the situation outside of the station.
“After thoroughly reviewing our station video footage and the exact timeline of our response, it’s evident that Fire Station 53 responded in a timely, prudent and professional manner to this incredibly dynamic incident,” commented VCFD Fire Chief Mark Lorenzen.
VCFD clarified that when an emergency occurs in front of the station, firefighters are expected to assess the situation and understand what is happening so that they can prepare appropriately.
“Our crews were outside prepared to render medical services within two minutes of first notification,” commented Chief Lorenzen. “Given the dynamics of a tragedy like this, I understand why others might have felt that our response was not quick enough; however, the captain and two firefighters properly evaluated the situation, responded appropriately and met the high standards we expect of our first responders.”
Police officers were dispatched to the station based on a 911 call from the girl’s mother where police then tended to both the mother and the child.
Due to the severity of the girl’s injuries, they rushed her in a squad car to the Ventura County Medical Center then airlifted to Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, where she was last reported to be in a coma.
“Unfortunately, the fire department was unresponsive and did not come out, and so we transported the child in a police unit to the local hospital,” Salinas said.
It was also reported that even after several shots were fired, police did not receive a single 911 call from neighbors because people believed the gunshots were illegal fireworks.
Lorenzen released the following statement Wednesday in response to the firefighters’ alleged inaction:
“We are deeply saddened by the tragic shooting that occurred overnight in Port Hueneme near our fire station. We are investigating the circumstances surrounding the emergency response and medical services rendered to the mother and daughter following the shooting. VCFD is talking with firefighters and local authorities to determine the facts.”
Police are being assisted in their investigation by Ventura County Sheriff’s deputies.
Wednesday evening, outside the Davis family home where the girl and her mother were shot, friends and family and church members held a vigil and prayed for the child’s recovery.
CBS2/KCAL9’s Rachel Kim said the home was riddled with bullets.
“This is senseless, a poor innocent baby. I mean guns, guns, you gotta use guns really?” Willie Chester, a relative of the victims, said.
A motive for the shooting remains under investigation.
“The people who did this,” Chester told Kim, “we hope they come forward. It they don’t, they don’t have to. God knows who they are.”