Fact Check: Beto O’Rourke ‘Absolutely Wrong’ on Ambulance Shortage After Texas Shootings

Democratic presidential hopefuls former Texas Representative Beto O'Rourke (R) and tech entrepreneur Andrew Yang shake hands as they arrive for the third Democratic primary debate of the 2020 presidential campaign season hosted by ABC News in partnership with Univision at Texas Southern University in Houston, Texas on September 12, 2019. …

CLAIM: There were not enough ambulances available to save the victims of a recent mass shooting in Odessa, Texas.

VERDICT: FALSE. The City of Odessa said that its ambulances responded to the shooting quickly.

Former Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-TX) received praised from his rivals onstage at the third Democrat debate at Texas Southern University in Houston, Texas, on Thursday evening. But he is being criticized by local West Texas CBS affiliate KOSA-7, which says that his claim that there were not enough ambulances available is “absolutely wrong.”

O’Rourke said during the debate (transcript via ABC News):

When we see that being used against children, and in Odessa, I met the mother of a 15-year-old girl who was shot by an AR-15, and that mother watched her bleed to death over the course of an hour because so many other people were shot by that AR-15 in Odessa and Midland, there weren’t enough ambulances to get to them in time, hell, yes, we’re going to take your AR-15, your AK-47.

KOSA reports:

The claim that there weren’t enough ambulances is false, according to information given to CBS7 by the City of Odessa.

The Odessa Fire Department arrived at Freedom Buick GMC Truck on 42nd Street 7 minutes and 21 seconds after Leilah Hernandez and her brother Nathan were reported shot to 911, according to the city.

An ambulance arrived about a minute later.

We’re told that all 30+ ambulances in Odessa were scrambled two Saturdays ago after the shooting started. Plus the City of Midland sent many over to assist.

The city told KOSA that there may have been fewer 911 dispatchers because of the Labor Day weekend, but there was no shortage of ambulances.

O’Rourke’s line promising to “take your AR-15” is still making news headlines the day after the debate. There are millions of AR-15 rifles in the U.S.; O’Rourke himself claimed to own one last year.

Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News. He earned an A.B. in Social Studies and Environmental Science and Public Policy from Harvard College, and a J.D. from Harvard Law School. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. He is also the co-author of How Trump Won: The Inside Story of a Revolution, which is available from Regnery. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.

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