A 911 dispatcher may be fired for allegedly mishandling a Buffalo shooting call
A 911 dispatcher who answered a call during the racist Buffalo, N.Y., mass shooting may be fired over how she handled the situation. A gunman entered a Tops grocery store on Buffalo’s East Side and killed 10 people on May 14.
Latisha Rogers, 20, who was working at Tops, called 911 during the shooting. She heard the shooter nearby and spoke quietly to not draw attention to herself, she told local TV station WGRZ. The 911 operator who answered the call questioned Rogers about why she was whispering. The two were subsequently disconnected.
“The dispatcher started yelling at me, saying, ‘Why are you whispering? You don’t have to whisper,’ ” Rogers said. “And I’m trying to tell her, ‘Ma’am, he is in the store. He’s shooting. It’s an active shooter. I’m scared for my life.’ “
Rogers said she then had to ask her boyfriend to call 911 for her after her call ended. The 911 operator is on administrative leave pending a full investigation, according to Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz.
“It is our intention to terminate that individual for what was a completely inappropriate response in a terrible situation,” Poloncarz said during a news conference.
The operator was employed for eight years and will face a disciplinary hearing on May 30. Poloncarz said the 911 call may be released in the future.
The police have the 18-year-old shooter in custody. He is charged with first-degree murder; he has pleaded not guilty. He was arrested at the scene of the shooting while wearing full body armor and holding an assault rifle. Recent deep dives into his online presence have revealed red flags and racist writings posted by someone with the same name as the gunman.