BUFFALO, N.Y. — A 911 dispatcher who allegedly hung up on a woman inside the Tops grocery store during Saturday's massacre is now on paid administrative leave.
The allegation came from Latisha Rogers, an assistant office manager at the Tops supermarket on Jefferson. She called in during 2 On Your Side's live coverage of the mass shooting on Saturday. Latisha said she could hear gunshots that wouldn't stop and she pulled her cell phone out of her back pocket and called 911.
Rogers spoke with Channel 2's Claudine Ewing about making the call.
"I called 911, I go through the whole operator and everything, the dispatcher comes on and I'm whispering to her and I said Miss, please send help to 1275 Jefferson there is a shooter in the store. She proceeded in a very nasty tone and says I can't hear you, why are you whispering, you don't have to whisper, they can't hear you, so I continued to whisper and I said ma'am he's still in the store, he's still shooting! I'm scared for my life, please send help. Out of nervousness, my phone fell out of my hand, she said something I couldn't make out, and then the phone hung up."
Erie County officials were watching and made aware and had the 911 tape pulled for review.
Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz said, "On Monday the individual was put on administrative leave pending a hearing which will be held on May 30 in which our intention is to terminate the 911 call taker who acted totally inappropriately not following protocol. "
He said the 911 worker has been on the job for eight years.
In New York State, 911 calls are rarely released to the public. The media has no access and it usually takes a court order.
Erie County, which runs the 911 communications center through Central Police Services, confirmed this incident is being investigated and "immediate action was taken and the individual who took that call is now on administrative leave pending a disciplinary hearing, which should happen within a couple of weeks."
Other calls that made it through were properly dispatched and there was a rapid response. Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown says police were on-site at Tops Market on Jefferson Avenue within two minutes.
After the disciplinary hearing, the dispatcher could be fired or face other disciplinary action.