2002-06-08 / Front Page

‘We Have No Way To Determine…’ EMS Responds To Allegations By Ross Family

By Gary G. Toms

'We Have No Way To Determine...'
EMS Responds To Allegations By Ross Family
By Gary G. Toms

Last week, The Wave reported on the murder of Dennis Ross, which occurred at the Redfern Houses on May 6. In the story, the Ross family claimed that EMS workers responding to the scene spent a majority of their time treating Leon Harper, a second victim in the shooting who was shot in the leg. Sandra Johnson, the sister of the murder victim, and Barbara Cole, the mother of Dennis Ross, has vehemently argued that EMS workers bypassed a bloodied Ross, who eyewitnesses say was still breathing, to get to Harper.

Dave Billig, Media Representative for EMS, would not confirm or deny the allegations made by the Ross family, but he did offer some explanations regarding inconsistencies in several areas.

"At 12:28 a.m., May 6, an EMS unit responded to a call of a man with a gunshot wound at 14-80 Redfern Avenue. The person who made the call appears to be Leon Harper. According to what I am looking at in the report, Dennis Ross was declared D.O.A. when the respondents arrived," stated Billig.

Cole and Johnson dismissed the assessment made by the EMS media spokesperson.

"I did not see anyone go near my son when he was on the ground. The only time I saw anyone close to my son's body was when they draped the white covering over him," said Cole.

"What they are saying is bull@#$%! I was there, and so were a whole lot of other people. They were wondering what the hell was going on as well. They went right past my brother without so much as looking at him. To make matters worse, they wheeled the injured man right in front of me. I didn't see any medical personnel near my brother," exclaimed Johnson.

When The Wave questioned Billig about the fact that there was no record of an ambulance responding to the scene, after an EMS spokesperson spent 10 minutes trying to pull up the records for The Wave last week, he stated the following.

"Well, it's here. I'm looking right at it."

The Wave pressed Billig again by asking him why would it be on record now, when a representative of the agency, who is trained by the agency, could not find it after a 10 minute search.

"If the person is who I think it is, then he's a new guy. He just did not key into the system correctly. It is my firm belief that this is what happened in this case," he said.

The Wave then presented Billig with the badge number of an EMS worker who responded to the scene based on a police report that was submitted by the Ross family. When asked to verify if the number matched ones logged in the records in front of him, Billig stated that the number was not consistent with the ones used in tracking EMS units.

Billig was also questioned on whether or not there was any way to determine, from the report he pulled up, if there were lapses in response time by EMS workers, or if the technicians noted whether or not they made an immediate evaluation of Ross' condition.

"We have no way to determine if there were any lapses in time, or when the EMS technicians made their evaluation, other than by what's in the completed report. Once the disposition is closed, that's pretty much it," said Billig.

The Ross family, still grieving over the murder, has indicated that they intend to have a full-scale investigated conducted once they have dealt with their loss.

"We are not at all satisfied with the reports. My mother knows what happened. My nephew knows what happened, and I know what happened the night my brother died. We're not looking to get people in trouble. We just want EMS to be honest and provide us with some answers," stated the victims' sister.

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