Buffalo 911 Dispatcher Fired After Hanging up on Tops Employee During Shooting

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A 911 operator has been fired after being accused of hanging up on a woman calling from inside the Tops supermarket during the mass shooting that killed 10 people and injured three more in Buffalo on May 14.

During the shooting, the store’s assistant office manager, Latisha Rogers, called 911 and was allegedly chided by the operator for whispering while hiding from the gunman, she told local media.

“She was yelling at me, saying, ‘Why are you whispering? You don’t have to whisper,’” Rogers told 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.”

Feeling like the operator “left me to die,” Rogers scrambled to phone her boyfriend to ask him to contact the police, she told the outlet days after the incident.

When Rogers’ claims first came to light, Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz told a press conference on May 18 that it was their intention to fire the operator who he said “acted totally inappropriately, not following protocol.”

“We teach our 911 call takers that if somebody’s whispering, it probably means they are in trouble,” he said.

After putting the 911 operator on administrative leave, the Erie County Department of Personnel fired her on Thursday after a disciplinary hearing, spokesperson Peter Anderson said in a statement obtained by NBC.

“The individual, who was the subject of a disciplinary hearing yesterday, is no longer employed as a police complaint writer for Erie County,” Anderson said.

‘Caught at Scene’

The 18-year-old gunman Payton Gendron has since pleaded not guilty to hate-motivated domestic terrorism and other charges for allegedly targeting black people when he opened fire in the store. Authorities have said he was an avowed white supremacist.

By Caden Pearson

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