Report: 911 dispatcher hung up on woman inside Tops during Buffalo shooting

"I had to call my boyfriend to call 911," says the employee, identified only as Latisha.

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An assistant manager at the Buffalo supermarket, where a confessed white supremacist fatally shot 10 Black shoppers, is speaking out about her experience with a 911 dispatcher.  The dispatcher has been placed on administrative leave.

The employee, identified only as Latisha, says the dispatcher hung up on her during her 911 call from inside the Tops market during Saturday’s shooting, according to an article on the website of WGRZ-TV, the NBC affiliate in Buffalo. 

“I tried to call 911, and I was whispering because I could hear him close by,” Latisha said. “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 I’m trying to tell her like, ‘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 in my face. And I had to call my boyfriend to call 911.”

People gather outside of Tops market on May 15, 2022 in Buffalo, New York. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

Latisha told the news outlet that she hid from 18-year-old gunman Payton Gendron as he carried out the deadly, racially-motivated attack. 

Gendron, who faces first-degree murder charges, reportedly drove about 200 miles from his hometown of Conklin to the predominantly Black neighborhood in Buffalo to fulfill his desire to “save the white” race, as outlined in his 180-page manifesto

The gunman livestreamed the shooting through a camera affixed to his helmet, according to The Associated Press. In the video, Gendron dressed in military gear, pulls up to the front of the store with a rifle on the front seat. He then points the rifle at people in the parking lot as he exits the vehicle and opens fire.  

Latisha says in a video embedded in the website article that the supermarket shooting brings back memories of the murder of her brother, Danyell Mackin, 30. He was one of four people fatally shot in 2010 at Buffalo’s City Grill restaurant. 

“I was there when that happened,” Latisha recalls. “And that was a massacre, and now I have to relive a whole other massacre.”

Payton Gendron appears during his arraignment in Buffalo City Court, Saturday, May 14, 2022, in Buffalo, N.Y. (Mark Mulville/The Buffalo News via AP)

Understandably, the shooting has left her traumatized and unable to return to work, the website article states. 

The 911 call, the website article also notes, has not been made public in compliance with New York state law. A court order is required to gain access to such records. 

Erie County officials have indicated that “immediate action was taken against the individual” who took Latisha’s call and that a disciplinary hearing could be scheduled within 14 days, per the website article.

Pending the results of the investigation, the dispatcher could be fired or face some other disciplinary action.

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