A 911 dispatcher was placed on administrative leave after a worker at the Buffalo, New York, supermarket targeted by a mass shooter said her call for help was rudely cut off as she hid from the gunman.
“I was whispering because I could hear him close by,” the Tops Supermarket assistant manager who gave her name only as Latisha told Buffalo TV station WGRZ by phone. “And when I whispered on the phone to 911, the dispatcher started yelling at me saying, ‘Why are you whispering, you don’t have to whisper.’ ... And then she hung up in my face.” (Watch the interview below.)
Erie County, which oversees the 911 call center, told HuffPost the call “has been investigated” and “immediate action was taken.”
“The individual who took that call is now on administrative leave pending a disciplinary hearing,” Erie County spokesperson Peter Anderson said in a statement.
The dispatcher has worked for the county for eight years, Anderson said. He added that the employee’s action “had no bearing on the dispatching of the call” as the call received a police response in roughly 30 seconds.
A gunman fueled by racist hatred attacked the supermarket on Saturday, shooting 13 people and killing 10. The accused killer said he targeted the market because of its predominantly Black neighborhood. Most of the victims were Black.
In her now-viral interview with WGRZ, Latisha said she dropped to the floor when the shooting started and “tried” to call 911.
After the dispatcher berated her for whispering, she said she explained: “Ma’am, he’s in the store. He’s shooting. It’s an active shooter. I’m scared for my life.”
“And she said something crazy to me and then she hung up,” Latisha said.
The worker said she then called her boyfriend, who called 911 for help.
She told the same story to The Buffalo News, which reported that she has worked at the supermarket for 13 years.
You can watch WGRZ’s interview, shared by former Buffalo mayoral candidate India Walton, below.
People called for help and this was the response… pic.twitter.com/EFLG2gJn28
— India Walton From Buffalo (@Indiawaltonbflo) May 16, 2022
People on Twitter expressed outrage.
It literally doesn’t matter how calm we are our voices are never heard!!!! WOW https://t.co/Xpl7rvi4Yz
— Maddy Perez (@JadaNooKiss) May 17, 2022
As a 911 operator, why in the whole hell would you question and get mad at someone for whispering when they told you there is an active shooter near their hiding spot?? And then you hang up??? https://t.co/PO4ubSndv1
— Dumpster Baby 👶🏽 (@makeupbyjoxlyn) May 17, 2022
This article originally appeared on HuffPost and has been updated.