Buffalo Shooting: Dispatcher who placed call for help fired from work

The 911 dispatcher who hung up on a woman who called for help during last month's mass shooting in Buffalo was fired

The 911 dispatcher who hung up on a woman who called for help during last month’s mass shooting in Buffalo has been fired (Images: AP/Reuters)

The emergency services dispatcher who hung up on a caller last month reporting the mass shooting at Tops Supermarket in Buffalo, New York, was fired after a disciplinary hearing.

The 911 dispatcher, who worked for the Erie County Central Police Services Department for eight years, was placed on administrative leave on May 16 “while the abused call was being investigated,” according to Peter Anderson, a spokesman for the Erie County Executive’s office.

A hearing was held on May 30 to “terminate the 911 caller who acted in a grossly improper manner and failed to follow protocol,” according to Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz.

While officials did not name the woman who manhandled the call, The Buffalo News identified her as Sheila E. Ayers.

On the day of the shooting, Ayers, 54, was answering the 911 call of Latisha Rogers, an assistant office manager at Tops Friendly Markets in Buffalo, when an 18-year-old gunman entered the store and opened fire. The gunman, who authorities say was motivated by racial hatred, shot dead 13 people, 10 of whom died. The 10 people who died were all black.

Rogers, 33, spoke about quietly trying to make the call for help.

“I tried calling 911 and I was whispering because I could hear him nearby,” Rogers told WGRZ.

“And when I whispered on the phone to 911, the dispatcher started yelling at me and saying, ‘Why are you whispering? You don’t have to whisper.” And I try to tell her, “Ma’am, he’s in the store. he shoots It’s an active shooter. I’m scared for my life,” she said.

She then had to make a second call to her boyfriend, who she asked to call 911 so they could report the shots to authorities and hopefully stop the shooting.

“She said something crazy to me and then she hung up on me right away. And I had to call my friend to call 911,” added Rogers.

The 911 dispatcher was fired the same day the shooter pleaded not guilty to new hate-motivated domestic terrorism and other charges. Shortly after the attack, he was charged with murder.

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Justin Scacco

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