'Another black gang member'
Family of slain man says paramedics failed to act swiftly due to racial misconception
By André Coleman 06/27/2013
In a claim for damages filed against the Pasadena Fire Department, the parents of a 23-year old African-American man allege emergency medical technicians failed to rush their son to the hospital because they thought he was “just another black gang member who got himself shot,” a charge strongly refuted by Fire Chief Calvin Wells.
“We gave him the best possible care we could, just like we would anybody else,” Wells told the Pasadena Weekly. “Our response time in this situation met the national standards.”
According to police, Joseph Eric Jones of Pasadena was shot and killed after he and several friends attempted to detain a man they claimed tried to rob them on the night of Sept. 26 near the corner of Howard Street and Mentone Avenue in Northwest Pasadena.
During the robbery, Rashad McCoy, aka “Lil Weez Sack,” fled on foot after one of the men he allegedly attempted to rob ran to get help from nearby friends, who ultimately joined in the pursuit. Police said McCoy hid in a backyard in the area of Stanton Street and Newport Avenue and, according to police, waited for the victims to approach.
As Jones came near the bushes where McCoy was hiding, McCoy allegedly shot him in the upper torso and fired several shots at his pursuers before escaping to a waiting vehicle.
Friends attempted to rush Jones to Huntington Hospital, but were stopped en route by Pasadena police. At that point, officers called for paramedics, according to department spokeswoman Lt. Tracey Ibarra.
“He did not die immediately and his friends tried to rush him to the hospital. Police were responding to the shots fired calls and saw the vehicle racing away and pulled them over,” Ibarra told the Weekly.
McCoy was arrested in Palmdale on Nov. 20 and is being held on $2 million bail at the Pitchess Detention Center in Castaic. A pretrial hearing in Pasadena Superior Court is set for July 17. McCoy has been charged with murder, attempted murder, and gang and weapons charges, making the 23-year-old eligible for the death penalty.
“Our son died as a result of the negligence on the part of the Pasadena Fire Department’s paramedics who failed to make a timely effort to get our son to emergency surgeons at the Hospital,” states the claim signed by David and Faavaoa Jones, the victim’s parents. “We feel that this lack of effort was caused by the fact that the EMS personnel thought Joseph was just another black gang member who got himself shot.
“However,” the claim goes on, “that was very much far from the truth, as Joseph was the victim of an armed robbery, a college student accepted to Stanford University, a member of the family that was waiting for escrow to clear for the purchase of an exclusive home in the hills above the Rose Bowl and a member of a family with controlling interest in a cargo airline.”
The family did not list an attorney on the claim filed with the city, which is seeking more than $25,000. Their address and phone number, which are not listed, were redacted from the copy of the claim released to the paper.
Pasadena Fire Department Public Information Officer Lisa Derderian told the Weekly the department met or exceeded national response times at every step of the emergency.
The first call for trauma treatment went out at 12:07 a.m. and 3:35 minutes later an engine from Fire Station 36 at Fair Oaks Avenue and Hammond Street was on the scene with at least one paramedic onboard. The industry national average response time is five minutes or less. At 12:15 a.m., an ambulance arrived on scene, just under the eight-minute national response time average for paramedics arriving at crime scenes. Jones arrived at the hospital shortly after 12:31 a.m., Derderian said.