A Lyft driver was shot and killed and his passenger injured in an apparent ambush in a South Cleveland neighborhood early Monday morning. The driver, Mourice Foster, was giving a 31-year-old woman a ride home when they were both hit by gunfire shortly after midnight. Foster was shot at least four times in the upper left side of his body and was pronounced dead at the scene, according to police.
A 32-year-old Lyft driver was shot and killed in Cleveland overnight https://t.co/IUaP1p0q28
— BE HERE CLEVELAND, LLC. (@BeHere_Clev) August 28, 2017
Via News 5:
The passenger, who was shot in the arm, was taken by Cleveland EMS to University Hospital. She was alert and talking when transported. Her mother told News 5 that the bullet hit her bone, and she is expected to undergo surgery on Wednesday.
According to Cleveland police, two men, one of which had a gunshot wound, later showed up to University Hospitals. One of the men, 22-year-old Deonta Houston, was arrested in connection with the homicide.
— Julia Tullos (@JTullosCBS19) August 28, 2017
According to Cleveland.com, the police report says “a car pulled up next to Foster’s and opened fire, then sped off.”
A witness told police they heard about 10 gunshots fired, according to 911 dispatch reports.
The victim’s grandmother told Cleveland.com that “her granddaughter was visiting friends on Sunday night and took the Lyft back to her home because she had to work at an area nursing home on Monday.”
“There’s just no reason for this type of violence,” she said. “It has to stop.”
Cleveland police are investigating the motive for the shooting. As of late Monday, Houston was still in custody.
“We were horrified to learn of this incident, and are deeply saddened by the loss of life,” Lyft said in a statement. “Our thoughts are with those affected by this incredible tragedy. There is no place in our society for such violence. We stand ready to assist law enforcement in their investigation.”
The local media in Cleveland are now questioning why it took EMT workers so long to get to the victims.
News 5 reported that “it took paramedics 16 minutes and 45 seconds to respond to the scene.”
Dispatchers are heard over the scanner repeatedly asking for EMS to step up while police and firefighters rendered first aid.
According to Cleveland city spokesman Dan Williams, 19 ambulances were in service overnight. The current average response time for all calls is 11 minutes and 58 seconds.
Fox8 also reported on the delay, saying the surviving shooting victim can be heard on the 9-1-1 recording pleading for help.
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.”
Witnesses told Fox8 that after they heard the gunfire they noticed it took a long time for an ambulance to get to the scene.
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. Nonetheless that is still 5 minutes longer than the average EMS response time for all calls. And again, for two people shot?
The unnamed woman reportedly 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?”
Under fire, Cleveland City Hall promised that “in the weeks and months ahead, EMS will steadily add more paramedics and ambulances.”