A D.C. nightclub owner said two of his employees were forced to run to a fire station to get help for a stabbing victim early Saturday morning after no one responded to their 911 calls.
Michael Romeo, owner of Club Insomnia in Northwest, said that he witnessed at least two persons calling for emergency aid when they discovered a U.S. Marine, who had just left the club, collapsed and bleeding on the sidewalk nearby.
The Marine, Cpl. Josiah Fulton, died from a stab wound to the neck. Another Marine, who had accompanied Cpl. Fulton to the club, was wounded when he was stabbed. He was treated at a hospital and released. His identity was not revealed.
Cpl. Fulton, 21, was from Hampton, Ga., but had been stationed at the Anacostia Annex, in Southeast.
Police said a man had been involved in an altercation with Cpl. Fulton at the club earlier in the evening.
Mr. Romeo said the altercation occurred around midnight and that the other man was promptly thrown out of the club. He couldn’t specify the time when Cpl. Fulton was stabbed but said that it was after the club closed, at 2:45 a.m.
Police said Cpl. Fulton was at the intersection of 6th and G streets NW when a car drove up and stopped near him. Three or four men got out of the vehicle and stabbed both Marines at least once.
Mr. Romeo said about 10 people, including several of his employees, were at the scene shortly after the stabbing and tried to help Cpl. Fulton.
One woman administered CPR, and others called 911.
“Everything happened so fast, but at the same time, it happened so slow,” Mr. Romeo said. “It was the worst thing that I’ve ever seen in my life.”
He couldn’t say how long the emergency workers’ delay lasted, but some witnesses estimated that it was more than a half-hour.
“It took some time,” Mr. Romeo said. “We didn’t know what to do. We just decided to go down the street and bang on the firehouse doors.”
D.C. Fire and Emergency Medical Services spokesman Alan Etter said an officer on watch at Engine Co. 2, about two blocks away, called dispatchers at 3:29 a.m., according to computer records.
“This was not an unreasonable response time,” Mr. Etter said. “We had [emergency medical technicians] on the scene in 90 seconds from the time we knew something was going on.”
An ambulance arrived at the scene minutes later and transported Cpl. Fulton to Washington Hospital Center at 3:47 a.m. He was pronounced dead 20 minutes later.
Mr. Etter said that he had no evidence that any emergency calls had been placed prior to the club employees knocking on the door of the station house.
Emergency calls are first taken by Metropolitan Police Department operators, who transfer fire and medical calls to fire department operators.
“Our records indicate we received our first call at 3:29,” D.C. police spokesman Sgt. Joe Gentile said yesterday. He said officers responded to the call within two minutes.
“If anybody has a concern, we’ll be happy to investigate further,” Sgt. Gentile said, adding that police could review audiotapes of calls made to the 911 center.
Mr. Etter said the incident is not under investigation by the fire and EMS department.
No arrests have been made. Police say one of the suspects is a Hispanic male believed to be in his early 20s and to have been driving a white Mazda 626.