KEY POINTS

  • The woman, an assistant office manager at the Tops store, made the 911 call
  • She accused the dispatcher of hanging up while the deadly shooting unfolded
  • The dispatcher may be fired or face action following a disciplinary hearing

A 911 dispatcher was placed on administrative leave for the way she handled a 911 call about the gunman who mercilessly shot down shoppers in a busy Buffalo supermarket. A woman who made the call accused the dispatcher of hanging up on her. Officials said the dispatcher may face termination.

Latisha Rogers, an assistant office manager at the Tops grocery store on Jefferson, said she had called 911 during the Saturday massacre.

Rogers was hiding during the shooting rampage and heard multiple gunshots before making the call.

“I called 911, I go through the whole operator and everything, the dispatcher comes on and I'm whispering to her and I said 'Miss, please send help to 1275 Jefferson there is a shooter in the store,'” Rogers told WGRZ. “She proceeded in a very nasty tone and says 'I can't hear you, why are you whispering, you don't have to whisper, they can't hear you,' 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,” Rogers added.

Rogers said she then called her boyfriend and told him to report the shooting. 

“I felt that lady left me to die…” Rogers previously told the Buffalo News

Other 911 calls reporting the shooting were properly dispatched and led to police arriving at the scene within minutes. 

Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz said the 911 dispatcher in question had worked for eight years on the job. The dispatcher may be fired or face disciplinary action following a disciplinary hearing. 

“On Monday the individual was put on administrative leave pending a hearing which will be held on May 30 in which our intention is to terminate the 911 call taker who acted totally inappropriately not following protocol,” Poloncarz said, according to the outlet.

Peter Anderson, a spokesperson for the executive of Erie County, confirmed to AP News via email Wednesday that a disciplinary hearing will take place this month.

“Termination will be sought” for the dispatcher, Anderson wrote. He also noted that it is unclear who hung up during the call.

Ten people were killed and three others wounded in the deadly shooting in a predominantly Black neighborhood. Officials said 11 of the 13 people shot were Black. Police said the suspect, Payton Gendron, 18, drove over three hours from his small town to the store to carry out the racially motivated hate crime.

Rogers, who worked at Tops for three years in her 13-year career, told the Buffalo News following the shooting: “I can't sleep. I can eat a little bit, but I just keep hearing gunshots and just seeing the bodies.”

“That store is very important to that community,” she added. “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.”

A memorial is seen in the wake of a weekend shooting at a Tops supermarket in Buffalo, New York A memorial is seen in the wake of a weekend shooting at a Tops supermarket in Buffalo, New York, U.S. May 18, 2022. Photo: Reuters / BRENDAN MCDERMID