911 Dispatcher Faces Disciplinary Action, Termination After Hanging Up on Buffalo Shooting Call

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Buffalo Supermarket Shooting - Credit: (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)
Buffalo Supermarket Shooting - Credit: (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

A 911 dispatcher is facing disciplinary action and possibly termination after abruptly hanging up on a woman who was inside the Buffalo supermarket where a racially motivated mass shooting occurred Saturday.

The unnamed dispatcher was placed on administrative leave Monday following comments Tops Friendly Market assistant office manager Latisha Rogers made regarding the 911 call. She said the dispatcher allegedly “yelled” at her for whispering on the call before hanging up on her; Rogers kept her voice down to avoid detection from the shooter.

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“She was yelling at me, saying, ‘Why are you whispering? You don’t have to whisper,'” Rogers told the Buffalo News, “and I was telling her, ‘Ma’am, he’s still in the store. He’s shooting. I’m scared for my life. I don’t want him to hear me. Can you please send help?’ She got mad at me, hung up in my face.”

Rogers — who was standing behind the customer service desk when the gunman started his shooting rampage — next called her boyfriend, who then called 911 dispatchers. “I felt that lady left me to die yesterday,” Rogers said Monday.

The first reported call regarding the shooting occurred at 2:30 p.m, and officers arrived at the supermarket one minute later.

Following an internal investigation, the dispatcher, who was employed by the county for eight years, will next face a disciplinary hearing on May 30, at which time “termination will be sought,” Erie County spokesperson Peter Anderson said (via the New York Times).

Ten people were killed in what authorities called a “straight-up racially motivated hate crime” at the Tops Market in a predominantly black neighborhood in Buffalo on May 14. The suspect, identified as 18-year-old Payton Gendron from Conklin, New York, “traveled hours from outside this community to perpetrate this crime on the people of Buffalo,” Mayor Byron Brown said Saturday. Gendron, who previously pleaded not guilty after surrendering to police outside the supermarket, was indicted by a grand jury Thursday.

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