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CLEVELAND –  The FOX 8 I TEAM has uncovered delays in getting a Cleveland ambulance to the scene of two-people shot in a drive-by even though one of the victims called 9-1-1 desperate for help.

Police say someone shot up a car with a driver for the Lyft ride service, and the gunfire hit a woman, a passenger, too. The driver died. The passenger suffered injuries that sent her to the hospital.

She can be heard telling a police dispatcher, “I just got shot. It was a drive-by.” Then as the police dispatcher transfers the woman to a calltaker for EMS, the phone rings and rings, and then a recording kicks in. You can hear the police dispatcher say, “Ma’am. Stay with me, OK? Don’t hang up.”

It happened in the 17800 block of Olympia in Cleveland just after midnight Monday morning. Witnesses heard the gunfire and noticed it took a long time for an ambulance to get there. Lazette Crowley said, “They need to have some faster service. That wait time was absolutely too long.”

Even officers could be heard on their radios wondering when they’d see an ambulance. One said, “Fire just got here, but we need EMS.” “Got an ETA on the ambulance?” And then another said, “21 plus minutes, no EMS.”

This led the I TEAM to investigate what went wrong? All that time to get an ambulance to a call for two people shot? The mayor has promised to put more paramedics on the streets. More ambulances too. In fact, new paramedics just graduated weeks ago.

Even though an officer could be heard talking about waiting more than 20 minutes for an ambulance, City Hall says the response time was 16 minutes 45 seconds. Nonehteless that is still 5 minutes longer than the average EMS response time for all calls. And again, for two people shot?

The City says it even had an extra ambulance on the street thanks to increased staffing. Yet it still wasn’t enough to prevent delays here.

City Hall says in the weeks and months ahead, EMS will steadily ad more paramedics and ambulances.

The woman who’d been shot quickly lost patience with 9-1-1. When a dispatcher asked where she’d been hurt, the victim answered, “I don’t know. I don’t know. I’ve never been shot before.” She added, “Oh my God! Can’t somebody get here?”

Cleveland Police are still investigating the motive for the shooting.


This story was updated on August 29 to remove the name of a suspect, who is no longer considered a suspect in the homicide.