911 dispatcher allegedly hung up on caller from Buffalo shooting scene

Published: May 19, 2022 9:09 AM EDT
A 911 dispatcher is said to have hung up on a caller from the Tops supermarket where a shooting took place in Buffalo, New York
Tops supermarket, where an 18-year-old shooter killed multiple people in Buffalo, New York. Credit: CBS

An assistant manager who hid behind a counter during the massacre at a Buffalo grocery store says a 911 dispatcher hung up on her because she was whispering.

Latisha Rogers, 33, ducked behind a customer desk and called for help as the gunman stalked the aisles at Tops supermarket.

Rogers told her story at a recent church service, saying she tried to explain she had to whisper so the gunman wouldn’t hear her. But she says the operator hung up on her and she had to call her boyfriend and tell him to call 911.

The story is causing outrage in the community.

“I find it disgusting that this 911 operator hung up on her because she was whispering,” produce manager Rose Marie Wysocki said.

The Erie County Central Police Services said in a statement that the person who took the call is on “administrative leave pending a disciplinary hearing.”

Peter Anderson, a spokesperson for the executive of Erie County, said in an email to The Associated Press that “termination will be sought.”

Meanwhile, online diaries reveal that the 18-year-old accused gunman studied a YouTube video called “Buffalo’s Worst Neighborhoods” as he scoped out potential targets.

He boasted that his parents knew nothing about the growing arsenal of weapons and ammunition in their home.

“It’s not the parents’ fault that a kid commits murder, but there are so many people who may be able to reach out and stop a murderer, and the parents are right there at the front of the line,” former FBI special agent Katherine Schweit said.

The indefinite closure of the supermarket has left a gaping void for the neighborhood residents.

“Tops was a staple for this whole community,” one person said.

The city is coming to the aid of people who shopped at Tops and no longer have that place to go, with donated food and other supplies.

The Buffalo Bills football team came out to serve hot food, making sure nobody went hungry. The team and the NFL foundation have donated $400,000 to relief efforts.