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911 Dispatcher Who Hung Up On Grocery Store Worker During Buffalo Shooting Placed On Leave

911 Dispatcher Who Hung Up On Grocery Store Worker During Buffalo Shooting Placed On Leave
Kent Nishimura / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

A 911 dispatcher was placed on administrative leave for hanging up on a woman who was calling from inside the Tops Friendly Markets store in Buffalo, New York during the mass shooting that took place on May 14.

She was hiding from the active gunman who went on a racially-motivated shooting rampage and was whispering on the phone with the emergency responder.

The distressed caller, whose name is Latisha, was an assistant manager at the store.

When she heard gunshots inside the supermarket, she immediately called 911.

When she reached the dispatcher on the phone, Latisha said she was whispering because she could hear the shooter close by.

She told WGRZ that when she informed 911 about the pandaemonium inside the store, the dispatcher said in a "nasty tone":

"I can't hear you. Why are you whispering? You don't have to whisper. They can't hear you."

Latisha continued trying to reason with the operator by explaining the gunman was still in the store and actively shooting.

"I'm scared for my life," Latisha told the dispatcher. "Please send help."

Latisha said at one point during the call, her phone fell out of her hand out of nervousness.

When she tried to resume with the distress call, the phone had been hung up.

You can watch the interview with Latisha in this news clip.

911 Dispatcher Allegedly Hung Up On Caller During Buffalo

Erie County, which oversees the 911 call center, told the Huffington Post the incident "has been investigated" and "immediate action was taken.

A spokesperson for the county, Peter Anderson, said in a statement:

“The individual who took that call is now on administrative leave pending a disciplinary hearing."

Anderson told the media outlet the dispatcher had been working in the county for eight years.

Because police responded to the call in roughly 30 seconds, Anderson said the employee's actions “had no bearing on the dispatching of the call.”

He added the county's intent is to terminate the employee who "acted totally inappropriately" and "not following protocol."

The mass shooting–in which ten people were killed and three others were injured–was called an act of domestic terrorism and deemed a racially-motivated attack on the predominantly Black neighborhood of Kingsley on the Eastern side of the city.

The accused, who was an 18-year-old White supremacist who supported the far-right nationalist's "Great Replacement" conspiracy theory, live-streamed the shooting on Twitch.

He was taken into custody and charged with first-degree murder.

As for the 911 dispatcher, Latisha she couldn't "believe that someone from 911 just hung up on my face."

"She didn't care and left me for dead."

The county executive told WGRZ he will look into releasing the transcript from that 911 call.