© 2023 WSKG

601 Gates Road
Vestal, NY 13850

217 N Aurora St
Ithaca, NY 14850

FCC Public Files:
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

A 911 dispatcher may be fired for allegedly mishandling a Buffalo shooting call

Photos of people killed in the mass shooting at Tops grocery store in Buffalo, N.Y., are part of a memorial near the store.
BUFFALO, NEW YORK - MAY 20: People gather at a memorial for the shooting victims outside of Tops grocery store on May 20, 2022 in Buffalo, New York. 18-year-old Payton Gendron is accused of the mass shooting that killed 10 people at the Tops grocery store on the east side of Buffalo on May 14th and is being investigated as a hate crime. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

A 911 dispatcher who answered a call during the racist Buffalo, N.Y., mass shooting may be fired over how she handled the situation. A gunman entered a Tops grocery store on Buffalo's East Side and killed 10 people on May 14.

Latisha Rogers, 20, who was working at Tops, called 911 during the shooting. She heard the shooter nearby and spoke quietly to not draw attention to herself, she told local TV station WGRZ. The 911 operator who answered the call questioned Rogers about why she was whispering. The two were subsequently disconnected.

"The dispatcher started yelling at me, saying, 'Why are you whispering? You don't have to whisper,' " Rogers said. "And I'm trying to tell her, 'Ma'am, he is in the store. He's shooting. It's an active shooter. I'm scared for my life.' "

Rogers said she then had to ask her boyfriend to call 911 for her after her call ended. The 911 operator is on administrative leave pending a full investigation, according to Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz.

"It is our intention to terminate that individual for what was a completely inappropriate response in a terrible situation," Poloncarz said during a news conference.

The operator was employed for eight years and will face a disciplinary hearing on May 30. Poloncarz said the 911 call may be released in the future.

The police have the 18-year-old shooter in custody. He is charged with first-degree murder; he has pleaded not guilty. He was arrested at the scene of the shooting while wearing full body armor and holding an assault rifle. Recent deep dives into his online presence have revealed red flags and racist writings posted by someone with the same name as the gunman.

Copyright 2022 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.