Video: Firefighter refused to respond to Tucson 911 call

msnbc.com news services
updated 2/17/2011 8:53:32 PM ET 2011-02-18T01:53:32

A city firefighter refused to respond to the Jan. 8 shooting spree that left six people dead and 13 wounded, the Arizona Daily Star reported, citing city memos.

The firefighter, Mark Ekstrum, quit the force two days later as management was considering possible disciplinary action against him, the Daily Star reported.

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Fire Capt. Ben Williams wrote in a memo that when Ekstrum told him he would not go on the call, "he mentioned something about 'political bantering' and he did not want to be part of it," the newspaper reported.

After he was contacted by the Daily Star about the incident, Ekstrum said in a statement he was distraught about the shootings and had no disagreement with Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, who was shot in the head and is recovering at a Houston medical facility. Ekstrum said he was "distracted" and doubted his ability to focus on an emergency call.

Ekstrum was part of a team trained to handle major medical emergencies. The unit was not part of the first group of emergency responders and was only dispatched to the scene about 90 minutes after the gunfire broke out, the newspaper reported.

The Daily Star obtained the city memos that detailed the incident via a public records request.

The newspaper reported that Williams wrote that Ekstrum "started to say something about how he had a much different political viewpoint than the rest of the crew and he was concerned."

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