A breakdown in police and fire communication resulted in a chaotic response to treating victims of the 2012 Aurora theater shooting, a review of the largest mass shooting in U.S. history found, reports the Denver Post. Police officers didn’t know how to communicate directly with fire officials as they confronted hordes of blood-soaked victims streaming toward them. A maze of parked police cars, curbs and panicked moviegoers blocked ambulance drivers from reaching the critically injured. Fire officials didn’t know whether the threat had been defused, leaving them unsure of their safety as they navigated a crime scene that looked like a battlefield.
The report found that 28 minutes elapsed between the arrival at the scene of the fire battalion chief in control of emergency medical services and contact with the police lieutenant in charge of law enforcement issues. Coordination was so poor that a fire battalion chief reported to a colleague, “So far, it’s running pretty smooth.” In reality, at that time, “police were facing a chaotic situation and ambulances were not getting through to many of the wounded,” the report says. The study of the July 20, 2012, shooting spree,, which left 12 dead and 70 others injured, listed more than 80 recommendations but also lauded officials as acting admirably given the circumstances.