Buffalo mass shooting: 911 dispatcher fired for allegedly hanging up on store worker
BUFFALO, N.Y. - A 911 dispatcher has been fired for reportedly hanging up on a Tops supermarket employee, calling for help during a mass shooting where 10 Black people were killed last month in Buffalo, New York.
"The individual, who was the subject of a disciplinary hearing…is no longer employed as a police complaint writer for Erie County," spokesperson Peter Anderson with The Office of the Erie County Executive confirmed to FOX Television Stations.
The dispatcher had been placed on administrative leave "pending a disciplinary hearing."
An internal investigation into the incident began the day after the shooting on May 15, and the individual was placed on administrative leave on May 16, Anderson told FOX News.
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"Of note, the employee[']s action had no bearing on the dispatching of the call. The first call was dispatched for an immediate police response in approximately 30 seconds," Anderson told the outlet.
According to FOX News, A Tops employee named Latisha told WGRZ that when an 18-year-old shooting suspect arrived at the supermarket on the afternoon of May 14 and began his rampage that eventually killed 10 Black individuals in what FBI Director Christopher Wray is calling "a hate crime and an act of racially motivated violent extremism," she tried to call 911 for help.
"I tried to call 911, and I was whispering because I could hear him close by," Latisha told the outlet. "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.' And I'm trying to tell her, like, 'Ma'am, he's in the store. He's shooting. It's an active shooter. I'm scared for my life.' And she said something crazy to me, and then she hung up in my face. And I had to call my boyfriend to call 911."
Fox News Digital has requested records of the 911 call through a Freedom of Information Law (FOIL) request, though WGRZ noted that such calls are rarely released to media in New York State.
Suspect Payton Gendron, 18, is accused of carrying out the shooting and livestreaming the alleged hate crime attack on Twitch. Three other people were injured. Eleven of the victims were Black, according to city police, and he is accused of posting a 180-page document online explaining his plan and motives.
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The deceased victims have been identified as Roberta A. Drury, 32, Margus D. Morrison, 52, Andre Mackneil, 53, Aaron Salter, 55, Geraldine Talley, 62, Celestine Chaney, 65, Heyward Patterson, 67, Katherine Massey, 72, Pearl Young, 77, and Ruth Whitfield, 86.
Three injured survivors were identified as Zaire Goodman, 20, Jennifer Warrington, 50, and Christopher Braden, 55.
Authorities charged Gedron with first-degree murder in Buffalo City Court. He was arraigned and pleaded not guilty. He was also indicted by a grand jury on a state domestic terrorism and hate crime charge that would carry a mandatory sentence of life in prison.
Fox News' Michael Ruiz and The Associated Press contributed to this report. This story was reported from Los Angeles.