One 911 dispatcher may be out of a job after she allegedly hung up on a caller who tried to report the mass shooting that took place in Buffalo last week.
An 18-year-old white male reportedly walked into a Tops grocery store in a Black community and opened fire in what police are calling a racially-motivated hate crime. Ten people were killed in the aftermath and three additional individuals were injured in the attack.
One person apparently tried to call 911 to report the shooting from inside the grocery store as the crime was taking place, but the dispatcher reportedly hung up on the caller.
911 Dispatcher May Be Fired For Hanging Up On Caller Reporting Mass Shooting
How long should we wait after a mass-shooting, the usual expressions of “thoughts & prayers” & the inevitable outraged cries for more sensible gun laws, before we go back to posting food-pics?
— Mark Hamill (@MarkHamill) May 15, 2022
As PEOPLE reported, the 911 dispatcher in question has been suspended from her position as the situation is being investigated.
Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz called the dispatcher’s actions “totally inappropriate.”
The dispatcher has not been identified by name, but she has been placed on leave and may be fired pending the outcome of an administrative hearing that will take place before the end of the month.
My heart is broken by the horrific attack in Buffalo. Social media companies have not done enough to deal with hate. https://t.co/hwpqJVVEEb
— Selena Gomez (@selenagomez) May 16, 2022
On Saturday afternoon, one woman ducked for cover and placed a call to 911 as shots rang out throughout the store. She claims that 911 hung up on her when she was whispering. On Saturday evening, the woman told her story to the local news station WGRZ.
“I was whispering, because I could hear him close by and when I whispered on the phone to 911, the dispatcher started yelling at me, saying, ‘Why are you whispering? You don’t have to whisper,’” the woman claimed. “And I’m trying to tell her, like, ‘Ma’am, he’s in the store. He’s shooting. There’s an active shooter and I’m scared for my life,’ and she said something crazy to me and she hung up in my face.”
911 Call Will Eventually Be Made Available To The Public
We don’t need gun control. We just need to avoid churches, malls, supermarkets, mosques, concerts, synagogues, cinemas, parks, pre-schools, middle schools, high schools, college campuses, mass transportation, the outdoors in general… (1/513)
— Patton Oswalt (@pattonoswalt) May 15, 2022
Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz said that the dispatcher was better trained to handle such situations, as there are many situations in which a person would whisper during the call, such as in the event of a home invasion or domestic violence incident.
“We teach our 911 call takers that if someone is whispering, it probably means they are in trouble,” Poloncarz claimed. “They are in an area of concern, not just in regards to active shooters, but potentially with regards to domestic violence.”
The dispatcher is not new to the job. In fact, Poloncarz revealed that she had been hired there eight years ago. Although some are calling for her immediate termination, Poloncarz explained, “We have to go through a process that exists through our union contract, in which we go forth to present the information and the individual has the opportunity to respond.”
This country is a disgrace. pic.twitter.com/9CbhDOeRTh
— bettemidler (@BetteMidler) May 16, 2022
In light of the woman’s story going viral, Poloncarz said that the 911 transcript and audio of the call will eventually be accessible to the public after the investigation has concluded.
The victims in the Buffalo mass shooting have been identified as Roberta A. Drury, 32; Margus D. Morrison, 52; Andre Macneil, 53; Aaron Salter Jr., 55; Geraldine Talley, 62; Celestine Chaney, 65; Heyward Patterson, 67; Katherine Massey, 72; Pearl Young, 77; and Ruth Whitfield, 86.