An assistant manager at the Tops Friendly Market who called emergency services as Saturday’s racially-motivated mass shooting in Buffalo unfolded had the phone hung up on her.
Latisha Rogers, 33, was behind the customer service desk at the supermarket when she first heard gunshots being fired. Rogers, an assistant manager, quietly dialed 911 to discreetly alert authorities to the shooter in the store.
‘I tried to call 911, and I was whispering because I could hear him close by,’ Rogers told WGRZ on Saturday.
‘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,”‘ she said.
She then had to make a second call to her boyfriend, who she asked to call 911 so they could report the gunfire to authorities and hopefully put an end to the shooting.
‘She said something crazy to me and then she hung up in my face. And I had to call my boyfriend to call 911,’ Rogers added.
The 911 dispatcher who allegedly hung up on her has since been placed on leave, according to WGRZ.
Central Police Services confirmed that the incident is being investigated and that ‘immediate action was taken and the individual who took that call is now on administrative leave pending a disciplinary hearing.’
According to Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown, police were able to get to the Tops supermarket within two minutes.
On Saturday afternoon a white 18-year-old gunman wearing military gear opened fire outside the Tops Friendly Market, the only supermarket in a predominantly black neighborhood of Buffalo.
Police say that the suspected gunman, Payton Gendron, began shooting outside in the parking lot before exchanging gunfire with the security guard, who was killed, before entering the store and shooting at shoppers.
Ten black people died in the racist attack, which the alleged gunman had planned to continue down the street at a second store had he not been stopped, according to police.
The victims, who range in age from 20 to 86, include a former police officer who tried to stop the gunman, a beloved grandmother, a substitute teacher, taxi driver and others.
Buffalo Police Commissioner Joseph Gramaglia said that all evidence thus far has led officials to believe the attack was a ‘racist hate crime.’
The evidence that we have uncovered so far, make no mistake that this is an absolute racist hate crime,’ Gramaglia said. ‘It will be prosecuted as a hate crime. This is someone who has hate in their heart, soul and mind.’
Gendron, who drove 200 miles from his home of Conklin to Buffalo for the planned attack, was arraigned on first-degree murder charges Saturday night. He pleaded not guilty and is being held without bail. He will next appear in court on Thursday.
If found guilty, he faces a life sentence in prison without the possibility of parole.
For more stories like this, .