ST. LOUIS — The St. Louis Fire Department has launched an internal investigation into one of its employees after FOX25 Investigates uncovered inconsistencies in the first responder's story that he rushed to the scene of the 2013 Boston Marathon bombings.
Investigative Reporter Eric Rasmussen traveled to St. Louis to get answers after paramedics in Boston and Missouri contacted FOX25 about Shawn Daniel, who was recently honored at a St. Louis Blues hockey game, for his public service, including his claim of heroics.
The St. Louis Fire Department later posted online about the pre-game ceremony, stating, "On April 15, 2013 just after the Boston Marathon Bombing, Paramedic Daniel was amongst the many emergency responders who ran towards the blast site to assist the injured."
But Daniel's former manager in New Hampshire and others say that's not true and say the 31-year-old paramedic was never there that day.
On the day of the Boston Marathon bombings, Daniel was working in New Hampshire as a paramedic for a private ambulance company, American Medical Response.
Matthew Miner, Daniel's direct supervisor at the time, says Daniel initially came to New Hampshire as part of a "strike team" to make up for staffing shortages in the area, in the weeks before the bombings.
Miner said his team didn't send any ambulances or staff to the scene of the Boston Marathon bombing.
"None of our trucks were actually down there for that," said Miner.
FOX25 Investigates obtained a work schedule for Daniel and his coworkers during the week of the Boston Marathon bombing. On the day of the marathon, Daniel was assigned to a wheelchair van in Somersworth, New Hampshire -- more than 70 miles away from the Copley Square finish line.
"It's not actually an ambulance," said Miner. "It means you'll take people from a nursing home to a doctor's appointment."
Miner said he was upset to hear about Daniel's claims.
"It's not a good feeling at all because he misrepresents not only himself but the rest of us in the profession by making us all look bad," said Miner.
FOX25 Investigates tried to find Daniel at several locations in St. Louis on Wednesday and called him to ask about his version of events, but Daniel has yet to respond.
A spokeswoman for AMR confirmed Daniel had been an employee of the company but told FOX25 Investigates she could not confirm his account of his heroics in the aftermath of the Boston Marathon bombings.
St. Louis Fire Department officials said Daniel told his superiors he was transporting a patient to Boston that day and responded to the bombings on his own.
The department told FOX25 Investigates that Daniel even pointed to an image from the bombings of a rescue worker bent over and helping someone injured at the finish line. But multiple sources in St. Louis say the man in the navy uniform and baseball cap is not Daniel.
Miner said the cap and the coat the man is wearing in the photo do not match the AMR uniform at the time. A Boston Fire Department official told FOX25 the man Daniel is claiming to be in the photo is actually a Boston firefighter who was working a marathon detail on the day of the bombings.
Fire officials told FOX25 Daniel continues to stand by his story, but the department is still investigating.
"When that became apparent, that there was some question as to the validity (of his claims), an officer was placed to gather information," said Capt. Garon Mosby of the St. Louis Fire Department.
Danielle Patrick, Daniel's former coworker in New Hampshire, insists he wasn't anywhere near the bombing scene that day.
"That really angers me because people lost their lives that day," said Patrick. "Families were ruined. And he's lying about it to get... I don't know if he's doing it to get famous or recognition in his career. I don't know. But it's devastating."
After our story aired, we heard from a former co-worker and roommate of Daniel, Jason Rector, who said:
"I was part of a strike team deployed to the Northeast region with Shawn Daniels (sic), specifically New Hampshire and Maine, in April of 2013, during which the Boston Bombings occurred. I can personally attest that no member of our strike team, including Shawn Daniels, was deployed to Boston before, during, or following the attacks in Boston. I can state with absolute certainty that at no time was I privy to Shawn's involvement or activation to respond to the attacks in Boston. Shawn was not among the courageous heroes designated to the marathon, which later became the front-lines of a terrorist attack."
Cox Media Group