NAPLES — While 39-year-old Kelly Ann Rowles struggled for life inside her Fiddler’s Creek condominium with a gunshot wound to her head the morning of Aug. 22, it took nearly 13 minutes for the first emergency responders to arrive on scene, according to a 911 call released this week.
That is more than three times Collier County Medical Director Bob Tober’s goal of 4 minutes for life-threatening emergencies, according to Collier County EMS Deputy Chief Dan Bowman.
When asked about the response time, the Collier County Sheriff’s Office said the first two deputies to arrive were both about 12 miles from Rowles home at 9288 Grassi Way, No. 103, when they were dispatched. Rowles would not have survived the shooting even if emergency responders had arrived sooner, Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman Michelle Batten said in an e-mail.
“Our goal is always to arrive on scene as quickly and safely as possible,” Batten said. “However, we realize there are factors that can affect response time, such as geographic distance, time of day and available units.”
More than a week after the fatal shooting, Sheriff’s Office investigators remain tight-lipped about what, exactly, happened that morning. The agency still contends the shooting appears to have been an accident, but investigators won’t say how they believe the accidental shooting occurred or who they believe accidentally shot Rowles, a married mother of three.
The shooting remains under investigation.
The 911 call was made by a neighbor at 9:22 a.m., and deputies were immediately dispatched to the scene, Batten said.
“Somebody next door just got shot,” a female caller, whose name has not been released, told a dispatcher.
The caller told the dispatcher that she was sitting on her lanai when she heard a single gun shot. A male who took the phone, whose name also was not released, told the dispatcher Rowles wasn’t conscious, but appeared to have a pulse, was trying to breath and was gurgling, according to the call.
About 5 minutes and 30 seconds into the call, the male caller told the dispatcher that it appeared Rowles had stopped breathing.
“They think she’s dead,” he told the dispatcher. “The neighbors think she’s dead.”
But less than two minutes later, the caller said that Rowles was still attempting to breath.
“Yeah, she just made a noise,” the caller said, pointing out that “there’s brain matter on the chair she was on.”
About 11 minutes and 50 seconds into the call, the dispatcher advised the caller on how to perform mouth-to-mouth resuscitation. The first deputies arrive at about 12 minutes and 40 seconds into the call.
“The victim’s residence is located at the far east end of Fiddler’s Creek,” Batten said. “It is a three-mile drive from the entrance of Fiddler’s Creek off Collier Boulevard to the victim’s residence.”
Bowman said EMS was dispatched at 9:23 a.m. and arrived at 9:38 a.m. — 15 minutes later. Fire and EMS hold back from shooting scenes until the scene has first been secured by law enforcement, Bowman said.
“Fire, EMS is not going to go into a scene where someone has been shot without there being assurances that our safety is not going to be compromised,” Bowman said. “I would never direct our crews to go into a scene where someone has been shot without law enforcement there first.”
Law enforcement officers have medical training, Bowman said, and could do much of what an ambulance crew would do.
Rowles and her husband Chris have three children, Diana, Christopher and Jonathan, according to the Fuller Funeral Home website. No one answered the door at their condo on Wednesday afternoon. Neighbors reported seeing a teenage boy in the back of a deputy’s car the morning of the shooting.
A woman who answered the phone at a relative’s home said “Our family has no comment.”
Connect with Ryan Mills at www.naplesnews.com/staff/ryan-mills/