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Gunshot victim disputes cops' account

Ephriam "Darell" Burks, the survivor of a shooting Sunday that left his friend Curtis Cooney dead, denies that he and his friends have not been cooperating with the investigation. [Clint Austin /]

The survivor of a shooting Sunday that left another man dead is sticking to his story that Duluth police botched the response, while denying that he and his friends haven't been cooperating with the investigation.

Though police said Ephriam "Darell" Burks was taken to St. Mary's hospital about 22 minutes after being shot, Burks said he wasn't admitted for about 30 minutes, and has the hospital bracelet to prove it, which he said shows his admittance time. Burks said he was also thrown to the ground and tased before being taken to the hospital; police said it was a chaotic scene that needed to be controlled to ensure the safety of others.

Burks' fiancée, Becky Scott, said Burks called her almost immediately after he was shot at about 10 p.m. when she was at Park Point. By the time she got to the crime scene about five to 10 minutes later, she said Curtis Cooney was just then being attended to after being shot in the back of the head. Cooney was pronounced dead at St. Luke's hospital.

Witnesses at the scene told the News Tribune earlier this week that an ambulance sat a block away for several minutes before going to Cooney. Regina Cameron, who lives a house away from the shooting, said it seemed to take at least a half-hour for Cooney to be taken to the hospital.

Police, however, deny that, saying that Gold Cross paramedics had Cooney at the hospital 11 minutes after the report of the shooting.

A spokesman for Gold Cross said it was the company's policy to not release its response records; Police Sgt. Brad Wick said he based the timeline information off radio transmissions and times marked on the tape.

Wick said Burks' bracelet could show when it was given to him, not when he was admitted.

A group gathered at the apartment building after Cooney's funeral Friday, including some who were shot at that night, again said police took at least a half-hour to get Cooney to the hospital, though they would not provide their names.

The group also said they have been cooperating with police, contradicting what police said earlier this week.

Police have said they were frustrated with the lack of cooperation from some of the witnesses of the shooting. Cooney's family also has pleaded with witnesses to provide information to help police make an arrest.

Burks said he has been cooperating with police.

"We're all talking with police," he said. "We're all working on this."

But he said he's frustrated with how long it's taken for police to arrest suspects.

"Sooner or later people are going to start retaliating because people are going to feel like police aren't doing their job," Burks said.