A 911 operator was suspended after she allegedly hung up on the upstate New York supermarket worker who called for help as white supremacist Payton Gendron, 18, (pictured) gunned down 10 black people
A 911 operator was suspended after she allegedly hung up on the upstate New York supermarket worker who called for help as a white supremacist gunned down 10 black people.
Latisha Rogers, assistant office manager at Tops Friendly Markets in Buffalo, claims she called 911 as accused gunman Payton Genrdon, 18, opened fire throughout the store on Saturday.
‘I called 911, I go through the whole operator and everything, the dispatcher comes on and I’m whispering to her,’ she told WGRZ Wednesday. ‘I said ‘Miss, please send help to 1275 Jefferson there is a shooter in the store.”
Rogers claims the dispatcher responded in a ‘nasty tone’ and questioned why she was whispering, before hanging up on her.
‘She says ‘I can’t hear you, why are you whispering? You don’t have to whisper, they can’t hear you,” the Tops employee recalled.
‘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.’
Authorities have pulled the 911 call for review and placed the operator on paid administrative leave, pending an investigation, Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz confirmed to the TV station.
The operator has worked in 911 dispatch for eight years. A hearing is scheduled for May 30 in which the county intends to ‘terminate the 911 call taker who acted totally inappropriately and did not follow protocol,’ Poloncarz added.
Latisha Rogers, assistant office manager at Tops Friendly Markets in Buffalo, claims the dispatcher responded in a ‘nasty tone’ and questioned why she was whispering, before hanging up on her. PICTURED: Police responding to the shooting on Saturday
Gendron was arrested Saturday after allegedly killing 10 people at a Tops Market supermarket in Buffalo, Upstate New York. Police say the massacre was motivated by the 18 year-old’s hatred for black people
While wearing military gear, Gendon opened fire with a semi-automatic weapon in the parking lot and inside the Tops Friendly Supermarket in a predominantly black neighborhood of Buffalo, New York, on Saturday afternoon. The FBI called the attack ‘racially motivated violent extremism.’
The 18-year-old spent months agonizing over the details of his plan to carry out a mass shooting, according to the daily entries posted the digital message app Discord, which was provided to the Dailymail.com by the International Centre for the Study of Radicalization.
Eleven of the 13 people struck by gunfire were black. Ten of the victims were killed in the rampage, part of which the gunman live-streamed on a social media platform.
Several 911 calls were made during the grocery store massacre, Central Police Services confirmed to WGRZ.
With the exception of the incident involving Rogers, all 911 calls were handled properly and police were on-site within two minutes.
Gendron, of Conklin, NY, was arrested after surrendering to police and charged with first-degree murder, but is expected to be indicted on additional charges. He pleaded not guilty and was jailed without bail. He’s due back in court on Thursday.
Officials say the unnamed dispatcher who took Rogers’ call was met with ‘immediate action’ and face disciplinary measures including termination.
Mourners react while attending a vigil for victims of the shooting at a TOPS supermarket in Buffalo, New York on Sunday
Buffalo residents showed up in droves to mourn the victims of the supermarket shooting that killed 10 on Saturday
Rogers, who worked at the Jefferson store for three of her 13 years with Tops, says the massacre keeps replaying in her head over and over again.
‘I can’t sleep. I can eat a little bit, but I just keep hearing gunshots and just seeing the bodies,’ she told The Buffalo News, adding that it felt as if the shooting lasted an eternity, even though it was only a few minutes.
She doesn’t think she’ll be able to return to working at the store and said her thoughts are with those who rely on Tops for access to fresh food.
‘I know a lot of the regulars,’ Latisha said. ‘I know a lot of residents that come in there. I’ve been here for three years. That store is very important to that community.
‘I didn’t realize how important it was until I started working there. They love that store. That is just a traumatic experience to have in that community like that.’
Payton Gendron, 18, spent months agonizing over the details of his plan to carry out a mass shooting. He is seen wearing military gear and a GoPro in a photo posted online. The gunman livestreamed the shooting Saturday with a GoPro
Harrowing radio calls made by Buffalo police officers and firefighters on the day of the shooting were released on Monday. They revealed the chaos the emergency crews found at the scene.
Police were first alerted to the scene of the supermarket at around 2.31pm, when a dispatcher first directed a couple of officers to respond to a ‘shots fired’ call, according to audio recordings obtained by DailyMail.com.
Just about one minute later, the first cops and firefighters on the scene reported seeing bodies strewn outside the supermarket, and soon one officer on the scene makes a plea to the dispatcher, saying: ‘Radio, send as many cars as you possibly can’ as sirens could be heard going off in the distance.
Soon, a dispatcher informs the officers about a ‘possible active shooter’ at Tops, saying there are ‘still shots being fired.’
Less than 30 seconds later, firefighters on the scene radioed in that there were ‘at least three people on the ground,’ and the suspect ‘might be wearing body armor.’
Moments later, police reported that they had the suspect ‘cornered’ and ‘have him in custody.’ That call came just about six minutes after police were first dispatched to the scene.
By around 2:35pm officials began calling it a ‘mass casualty incident,’ with cops on the scene asking for more cars to control the crowds that had gathered outside as they were ‘working on clearing the store.’
They announced at the time that there were at least three people shot, at least two of whom were shot directly in the head.
Gendron murdered 10 people in a ‘racist hate crime ‘ at a supermarket in Buffalo, NY on Saturday. People are seen outside the store after the shooting
A photo posted to Gendron’s online diary shows supplies he gathered prior to shooting
Gendron also posted an image of the gun he used in the attack. He wrote vulgar words, including the names of other white supremacists on it
More victims were soon found dead inside the building, as one police officer could be heard exclaiming: ‘We have bodies down here.’
Police then called for more Crime Scene Unit officers to collect numerous bodies, bullets and magazines, and asked for further assistance in clearing the surrounding area of family members who had gathered outside worried about their loved ones.
In the final call of the audio recording, about 20 minutes after police were first dispatched to the scene, another police officer reveals that employees at the shop had locked themselves in a room near customer service to keep themselves safe during the rampage.
Gendron, who is due back in court on Thursday, is currently on suicide watch after he ‘put the gun under his chin’ as though to shoot himself following Saturday’s attack. Officers managed to ‘talk him down’ and arrest him. Gendron is being held in a separate unit from other inmates.
‘He’s on direct observation from our deputies [with] video surveillance,’ Erie County Sheriff John Garcia explained. ‘He will be treated as everyone else is treated within the Erie County holding center — humanely, with respect. And he will receive the correctional help and the mental help that is needed.’
Police believe Gendron planned the attack for months before driving three hours to Buffalo to carry out the vile ambush that authorities are calling an act of ‘violent extremism’ motivated by race.
Gendron reportedly had initially scouted out Rochester for the shooting but decided on Buffalo when he discovered it had a larger population of black residents.