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 From Connecticut State Police Sergeant William F. Cario’s report (5/6/2013)

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From Connecticut State Police Sergeant William F. Cario’s report (5/6/2013) Empty
PostSubject: From Connecticut State Police Sergeant William F. Cario’s report (5/6/2013)   From Connecticut State Police Sergeant William F. Cario’s report (5/6/2013) Icon_minitimeWed Aug 19, 2020 12:05 pm

I remember entering a conference room to the right, Room [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]… There was a woman motionless to the left of the door…and I knew she was alive (I believe she was crying quietly)… saw blood around her. Her breathing appeared good, her head and torso appeared uninjured, and I observed bleeding at her left leg. I told (her) I would be back…

The next room that I remember entering was Room [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]… I recall feeling that this was a high risk entry… I did not know the status of the shooter until I ran past his body… The shooter appeared to be of small stature and I did not know if he was a victim, but I then recognized a handgun near his head and another handgun secured on his person. My immediate impression was that he had committed suicide by shooting himself in the head… I do not recall the specifics of his injury, but I recall that his injury was not consistent with life and I did not check him for vitals or remove the weapons from him.

The first victim I came to in Room [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] was an adult female… I observed another adult female near a child a distance away. There were also a number of child victims in the room. I remember moving quickly among the bodies, checking for signs of life and I triaged their injuries. Some had injuries which were obviously not consistent with life; others took a little more time. It was my assessment that all victims in Room [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] were dead or gravely injured.

…my next memory is entering Room [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]… I observed the bodies of two adult females lying on the floor… there was an open door in the southwest corner of the room. I initially thought this was a closet. As I approached the door, I was initially unable to comprehend what I was looking at. As I stared in disbelief, I recognized the face of a little boy on top of a pile… I then began to realize that there were other children around the little boy and that this was actually a pile of dead children… I recall that many had horrific injuries.

…I decided that my services were best utilized if I worked in an EMS capacity as others worked to clear the building. (I have been active in EMS rescue associations and have held the certification of EMT or EMT Intermediate for more than 32 years). As I ran down the hall, I made a general statement that the injured should be brought to the front of the school for transport. I ran out the front of the school to TFC Kick and asked for his first aid kit as he had the only vehicle near the school. During this time I believe I first learned that there were two jackets outside the suspect’s vehicle and there were suspicions of a second shooter… I grabbed the kit and told TFC Kick to leave the keys in his car as well as to call for two additional cars to come up to the school to evacuate the injured, as we could not yet call ambulances in. TFC Kick called for additional patrol vehicles to the scene and I ran back into the school with his first aid kit (CSP radio time: 09:53).

My assessment was that I needed to treat the injured woman in Room [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] first. That woman had serious injuries but had a good prognosis if I could control her bleeding. The others all appeared to be dead or gravely injured on my initial assessment. I entered Room [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.], donned gloves, and proceeded to treat the injured woman as Msgt. Davis covered me from the door. Msgt. Davis asked the victim for a description of the shooter and the victim, although very emotional, reported that the shooter was wearing black and had a mask. That was not what we had observed in Room [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]. Msgt. Davis then directed a local officer to cover me while he left with the information about a possible second shooter.

At one point I borrowed a knife from the local officer and cut the pants from the left leg of the female victim. I quickly bandaged her left leg and left hand, apologizing for the combat medicine and telling her this was just to get her to the ambulance. Not knowing how many patients I would treat, I tried to conserve medical equipment.

As I was bandaging the woman’s hand, CSP Detective Patrick Dragon entered and identified himself as an EMT..

Det. Dragon and I placed the woman in [a wheeled office] chair, one of the females in the room asked “Should we follow you out?” I said it was not safe, we needed to evacuate the victim, and that they would be safe where they were… I wheeled the woman out the front door and stopped near TFC Kick’s car. TFC Kick and I assisted the female victim into TFC Kick’s right front passenger seat and I directed Kick to drive her out to the ambulances.

…I remember standing at the triage point at the front of the school and being frustrated. Det. Dragon or I had carried a little boy out of the building and I was attending to him near the curb outside the front doors.


This victim came from Room [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]. He was the only victim to be removed from Room [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]. The cruiser that I had TFC Kick call for never arrived because all of the cruisers in sight belonged to personnel engaged in the search of the school. The troopers arriving were coming in on foot because the flood of parents was causing a log jam at the entrance to the driveway. I then observed Newtown Police Lieutenant Chris Vangheli outside a black SUV near the front of the school. I told him I needed to get a victim to an ambulance and needed a ride. He agreed and looked in the passenger compartment to make arrangements. Seeing that the cargo area was empty, I told him to open the rear hatch. I picked up the boy and climbed into the back of the SUV, telling Lt. Vangheli to leave the hatch open. Lt. Vangheli sped to the end of the driveway, having to drive up over curbs and swerve around the rush of parents. I kept speaking to the injured boy although he was completely unresponsive. I knew his condition was grave, but he was still breathing and had a pulse.

Looking down the driveway, I observed only two ambulances on scene. While I have no specific recollection of Newtown Officer Chapman carrying out a young female victim, I remember knowing that we had three victims in serious or critical condition and only two ambulances… I observed a paramedic arriving in a fly car… [and] explained that I was an EMT and we might have as many as 20 injured and that it was not safe for him to enter the school yet. I told him that the ER needed to be made aware… He directed me to put the boy into a nearby ambulance… When the door opened, I was relieved to see that the female [adult] patient was already in the ambulance and was alert. There was a male and female attendant in the back of the ambulance. The male said “we already have a patient”. I climbed in, told him that the female would make it to Danbury Hospital with bleeding control, and that I had a child [redacted] and that the paramedic was aware. I put the boy down on the right side bench seat of the ambulance and left.

My next recollection was that when I returned to the school I went back to Room [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]… had to check for possible survivors… I asked if anyone had access to a phone with a camera, as I was about to disturb the crime scene… My images of checking the children in the bathroom are not clear. I recall that the sight of the pile of children was unimaginable, and that some of the children had horrific injuries [redacted]. I know that I began to systematically check for signs of life and remove the children. I remember calling into the pile in the hope that a survivor would answer, and that I was watching and hoping to see movement. I pulled the children out of the pile one by one. As I did, I placed their bodies on the floor in the aisle of the classroom. I started nearest the bathroom and placed the children in a row leading toward the entry door. I had no specific memory of how many children I removed.

[redacted] remember being disappointed as I worked my way down to the bathroom floor without finding any survivors. I stopped when I had three children left on the bathroom floor. I could access them and confirmed that they were dead. I had no room outside the bathroom for any more bodies, and I could not justify disturbing the crime scene further to remove the remaining three children. I tried to count the number of dead between rooms [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] and [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.], but my mind would not count beyond the lower teens and I kept getting confused.

The northern corridor of the school was still being cleared as I finished removing children from the bathroom in Room [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]. I believe I re-checked the victims in Room [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.], and I next went to Room [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]. I remember saying that we needed to search the rooms again to check every area where a child could hide. I then heard a noise from the southwest corner of the room and recognized that a wheeled bookcase was likely concealing a bathroom. I froze when I heard the noise and Lt. Vangheli looked at me. I moved toward the bookcase announcing “State Police”. I pulled the bookcase aside and exposed the bathroom door. I could hear children talking and continued calling to them. An adult female voice asked for a badge. I couldn’t get to my badge, but Lt. Vangheli pulled his off and it was passed under the door. One of the children said “It is the police” after the badge went under the door. The female voice then said something about us needing a key to get into the room. I tried to talk her into opening the door as one of the members of the CSP ESU ran out to find a key. I believe the ESU trooper was TFC Faughnan. After telling us to get a key, the bathroom became very quiet and I became suspicious that something was wrong. TFC Faughnan arrived with a key which he handed to me. I was so anxious that I bent the key in the lock. I was able to push the door in only a few inches before there was resistance. I realized that the children were packed so tightly into the bathroom that I could not open the door. Most of the children in the bathroom appeared to be frightened and were crying. I had to squeeze the children out of the bathroom one by one and passed them off to waiting police officers and troopers. The last one out of the bathroom was the teacher, Kaitlin Roig. She was very emotional and I had to persuade her to come out. The troopers then worked together to get the children out of the building as a group.

As we ran across the parking lot with the children, I began to realize that my uniform was soiled with blood and tissue from Room [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]. I didn’t want the children or parents to recognize this and I broke from the group. As I walked back toward the school, I passed a triage station. I asked the EMS personnel for a towel to wipe off my uniform. Several just stared at my uniform, but one stepped up with a towel to help me clean myself. As I was disposing of the towel, Paramedic Matt Cassavechia approached me. I have known Cassavechia for many years and recognized him as the head of EMS for Danbury Hospital. Cassavechia asked me how long it would be until he could get into the building. I told him the building was not yet secured, that all the injured were out, and that numerous dead persons remained in the school. Cassavechia said “You know I’ve got to get into the building.”

I realized that, at some point, those victims presumed dead would have to be officially pronounced dead. We also needed to impact the fewest number of EMS personnel and that we needed to preserve the integrity of the scene. Looking around, I recognized two other senior paramedics that I believed had the experience and training to handle this situation tactically. I told Cassavechia I would bring himself, Paramedic Bernie Meehan, and Paramedic John Reed into the front of the school, which was secured at that point. They were told to bring minimal equipment. As we walked to the school, I tried to prepare them for what they were about to see. I told them of the number of victims and the nature of the wounds. I told Cassavechia, “This will be the worst day of your llife.” We entered at the northeast corner of the building and I announced their presence. I walked them west down the corridor and brought them to Room [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]. They were told the locations of the victims and several troopers were assigned to remain with them for cover as well as to protect the integrity of the scene.

I then became part of a team following ESU [Emergency Service Unit] personnel as they cleared the building… made a complete loop [and] returned to the lobby area… I asked that all personnel involved in the initial response into the school be relieved and kept together in a group to watch and care for one another as we had been affected by what we had seen and done… Eventually, the initial responders were brought back to Troop A to meet with STOPS [State Troopers Offering Peer Support] personnel for a debriefing.

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From Connecticut State Police Sergeant William F. Cario’s report (5/6/2013)
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