The 911 dispatcher accused of hanging up on a Tops Friendly Market worker during the recent Buffalo shooting has been placed on administrative leave.
Latisha Rogers, an assistant store manager at Tops, told The Buffalo News that the Erie County dispatcher hung up on her because she whispered on her call. She reportedly spoke softly due to fear of being heard by the active shooter at the store, identified as a white supremacist named Payton S. Gendron.
“She was yelling at me, saying, ‘Why are you whispering? You don’t have to whisper,'” the assistant manager recalled the dispatcher saying. “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.”
Then, she said, she called her boyfriend and told him to call 911.
“I felt that lady left me to die yesterday,” Rogers added.
On May 14, 18-year-old Gendron opened fire at Tops, a supermarket in a predominately Black neighborhood near downtown Buffalo, N.Y., killing ten people and wounding three more. He was then taken into police custody and charged for first-degree murder.
Officials described the shooting as “racially motivated violent extremism.”
At the time, Rogers was working her normal shift when the gunman entered the store. As he shot up Tops, she reportedly ducked behind the counter and dialed 911, whispering, “There’s someone shooting in the store.”
The unnamed dispatcher has a pending disciplinary hearing scheduled to take place on May 30.
“Our intention is to terminate the 911 call taker who acted totally inappropriately, not following protocol,” said Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz. “We teach our 911 call takers that if somebody’s whispering, it probably means they are in trouble.”