The 911 operator who hung up the phone on a Tops Friendly Markets employee while a gunman shot more than 10 people has been placed on administrative leave, RadarOnline.com has learned.
Saturday, as 18-year-old shooting suspect Payton Gendron allegedly opened fire inside the Buffalo supermarket, assistant office manager Latisha Rogers quickly and quietly dialed 911 to report the tragic incident and ask for help.
But according to Rogers, the dispatcher who picked up the call allegedly responded with a “nasty tone” and questioned Rogers for whispering before hanging up the call.
“I called 911, I go through the whole operator and everything, the dispatcher comes on and I'm whispering to her,” a traumatized Rogers told a local Buffalo news network on Wednesday. “I said 'Miss, please send help to [Tops Friendly Market] there is a shooter in the store.’”
“She says ‘I can't hear you, why are you whispering? You don't have to whisper, they can't hear you,’” the employee recounted.
“So, I continued to whisper and I said ‘Ma'am he's still in the store, he's still shooting! I'm scared for my life, please send help.’ Out of nervousness, my phone fell out of my hand, she said something I couldn't make out, and then the phone hung up.”
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Following the troubling incident between Tops assistant office manager Rogers and the 911 operator, Erie County authorities confirmed they have since obtained the 911 call and were in the process of reviewing the exchange as part of an investigation into the matter.
Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz also confirmed that the 911 operator in question, who has worked in 911 dispatch for more than eight years, has since been placed on paid administrative leave while his team investigates the incident.
A hearing into the matter is scheduled for May 30, at which point the county reportedly plans to “terminate the 911 call taker who acted totally inappropriately and did not follow protocol,” Poloncarz said.
As RadarOnline.com reported, Payton Gendron was taken into police custody Saturday afternoon after allegedly murdering 10 people and seriously injuring at least three more after opening fire inside the Buffalo Tops Friendly Markets grocery store.
Gendron’s diary obtained after the mass shooting revealed that the 18-year-old was radicalized to white supremacist ideology in the early days of the Covid-19 pandemic after spending extensive time on a number of different white supremacist websites.
“I can't sleep,” Rogers added while recalling the heartbreaking incident. “I can eat a little bit, but I just keep hearing gunshots and just seeing the bodies.”
"I didn't realize how important it was until I started working there. They love that store. That is just a traumatic experience to have in that community like that.”