TUCSON, Ariz. (AP) — A veteran firefighter who refused to respond to last month's deadly shooting spree in Tucson, Ariz., says he was too distraught and distracted to focus on the emergency.
Mark Ekstrum retired from the Tucson Fire Department two days after the Jan. 8 shootings that left six people dead and 13 wounded. Among the injured was Arizona congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, who is still recovering from a gunshot wound to the head.
Ekstrum's insubordination was first reported by the Arizona Daily Star, which obtained internal city memos on the matter. The Star reported Ekstrum may have delayed his unit's response because firefighters had to stop and pick up a replacement for him.
Ekstrum declined to comment Friday, referring instead to a statement he gave fire department officials earlier this week explaining his actions. The statement says he was aware of the shooting and became "distraught over the magnitude of how this would affect our country."
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