Decatur Township first responders describe caring for patients amid a mass shooting

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Marion County, Ind. — Tomorrow marks one week since the mass shooting at the FedEx facility. Eight people died that night, plus the shooter who police said took his own life.

Decatur Township firefighters provided lifesaving care amid a frantic situation. They initially thought they were responding to a routine shooting call, but quickly realized it was a much larger situation.

“At that time, dispatch said, ‘Hey, I think there’s a second one,'” Asst. Chief Chuck Valentine said. “Then it went to four, and then there was more that was then added to that.”

Firefighters described providing care to people who were shot outside the facility as IMPD officers investigated the scene, with guns drawn.

“Me and my firefighters got out and started going from location to location, locating patients, treating who we could, letting command know what we had,” Lt. Scott McCaughna said.

Firefighters immediately called for more help, and got to work.

“There would have been patients to pass away if we had not been there,” Battalion Chief Tom Meadimber said.

Meadimber said they did not initially know whether there was more than one shooter.

“We still had heard there were possible two shooters and whatever,” Meadimber said. “That’s still in the back of your mind.”

Decatur Township’s firefighters have protective equipment, like bulletproof vests and helmets, and wore those while they cared for people Thursday night into Friday. The department trains for active shooter situations, but reality is nothing like practice.

“We’re ready, but I don’t think you can ever fully train for something like this because when this happened, it seemed like we were just reacting initially to what we found,” Meadimber said.

After the incident, the firefighters did debrief with each other. They also said first responders from other agencies visited them Sunday and have continued to show their support throughout the week.

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