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Selma EMS handling of New Year's shooting raises questions

Posted March 22

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— Johnston County officials are examining the actions of paramedics who responded to a shooting during a New Year's Day home invasion in Selma.

Perry Champion told a 911 dispatcher that he awoke at 2 a.m. on Jan. 1 to the sound of pounding on the front door of his home on West Elizabeth Street and a man threatening to break into his home.

"He was kicking at my door and everything. I didn't know if he had a weapon or not," Champion told the dispatcher. "I told him, 'Get away from the door and leave me alone.'"

Champion, who is a paraplegic, said he warned the intruder he had a gun, but the man didn't stop. So, he fired a shot through the door, critically wounding Kendrick Chrisp.

Selma EMS responded and, according to records obtained by WRAL News, began CPR at 2:13 a.m. Thirteen minutes later, they discontinued chest compressions.

The paramedics left Selma at 2:57 a.m. to take Chrisp to WakeMed in Raleigh.

The Johnston County Report, a local news website, published an interview Tuesday with an anonymous source claiming to be an emergency worker on the scene who said EMS workers declared Chrisp dead at one point and refused to acknowledge he was still moving.

Champion refuted that account on Wednesday, saying EMS workers never stopped trying to save Chrisp's life. At one point, he said, they shouted, "He's still with us."

But the 31-minute gap between the time chest compressions were stopped and Chrisp was taken to the hospital is now being closely examined.

"Every call is monitored by medical teams, and any concerns that are raised, there is more attention to the call," Johnston County Manager Rick Hester said.

"We do take quality care very seriously. It's our highest priority in our EMS system, and we have measures in place to ensure that every call is audited," said Josh Hollomon, Johnston County's EMS division chief.

County officials said they couldn't comment further on the Jan. 1 incident because of patient privacy regulations.

Questions to Selma EMS were referred to an attorney who didn't return phone calls seeking comment.

Selma EMS is one of three agencies that has an independent contract with Johnston County EMS, but County Manager Rick Hester said officials are in talks to dissolve that partnership and absorb the operations into Johnston County EMS.

Both Hollomon and Hester said the potential move wasn't prompted by questions over the Jan. 1 incident.

"It is not particular to one case," Hester said. "We have been in discussions with Selma about transitioning under county government, and I do think there will be an announcement or joint statement about that in the coming weeks."

If the contract is terminated, all Selma EMS employees would have to apply to fill any new openings at Johnston County EMS.

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