Buffalo mass shooting: 911 dispatcher on leave after allegedly hanging up on Tops supermarket employee

The dispatcher will face a disciplinary hearing and possibly termination

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A Tops supermarket employee who survived the Buffalo, New York, mass shooting on Saturday alleged that a 911 dispatcher hung up on her while she was trying to get help, according to local reports.

The dispatcher has been placed on administrative leave "pending a disciplinary hearing" that is expected to happen during the week of May 30, when "termination will be sought," Erie County office of the Executive press secretary Peter Anderson told Fox News Digital. 

People attend a vigil across the street from Tops Friendly Market at Jefferson Avenue and Riley Street on Tuesday, May 17, 2022 in Buffalo, NY.

People attend a vigil across the street from Tops Friendly Market at Jefferson Avenue and Riley Street on Tuesday, May 17, 2022 in Buffalo, NY. (Kent Nishimura / Los Angeles Times )

An internal investigation into the incident began the day after the shooting on May 15, and the individual was placed on administrative leave on May 16, Anderson said. 

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"Of note, the employee[']s action had no bearing on the dispatching of the call. The first call was dispatched for an immediate police response in approximately 30 seconds," Anderson added.

A memorial to the victims of the mass shooting in Buffalo is seen near the Tops Friendly Market at Jefferson Avenue and Riley Street on Wednesday, May 18, 2022 in Buffalo, NY. 

A memorial to the victims of the mass shooting in Buffalo is seen near the Tops Friendly Market at Jefferson Avenue and Riley Street on Wednesday, May 18, 2022 in Buffalo, NY.  (Kent Nishimura / Los Angeles Times)

A Tops employee named Latisha told WGRZ that when an 18-year-old shooting suspect arrived at the supermarket on the afternoon of May 14 and began his rampage that eventually killed 10 Black individuals in what FBI Director Christopher Wray is calling "a hate crime and an act of racially motivated violent extremism," she tried to call 911 for help.

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"I tried to call 911, and I was whispering because I could hear him close by," Latisha told the outlet. "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."

Howard Patton pays his respects at a makeshift memorial across the street from Tops Friendly Market at Jefferson Avenue and Riley Street on Wednesday, May 18, 2022 in Buffalo, NY. 

Howard Patton pays his respects at a makeshift memorial across the street from Tops Friendly Market at Jefferson Avenue and Riley Street on Wednesday, May 18, 2022 in Buffalo, NY.  (Kent Nishimura / Los Angeles Times )

Erie County's Central Police Services did not immediately respond to an inquiry from Fox News Digital.

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Fox News Digital has requested records of the 911 call through a Freedom of Information Law (FOIL) request, though WGRZ noted that such calls are rarely released to media in New York State.

Suspect Payton Gendron is accused of fatally shooting 10 people Saturday afternoon and livestreaming the alleged hate crime attack on Twitch. Three other people were injured. Eleven of the victims were Black, according to city police, and he is accused of posting a 180-page document online explaining his plan and motives.

People participate in a vigil to honor the 10 people killed in Saturday's shooting at Tops market on May 17, 2022 in Buffalo, New York.

People participate in a vigil to honor the 10 people killed in Saturday's shooting at Tops market on May 17, 2022 in Buffalo, New York. (Scott Olson)

The deceased victims have been identified as Roberta A. Drury, 32, Margus D. Morrison, 52, Andre Mackneil, 53, Aaron Salter, 55, Geraldine Talley, 62, Celestine Chaney, 65, Heyward Patterson, 67, Katherine Massey, 72, Pearl Young, 77, and Ruth Whitfield, 86.

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Three injured survivors were identified as Zaire Goodman, 20, Jennifer Warrington, 50, and Christopher Braden, 55.

Authorities charged Gedron with first-degree murder in Buffalo City Court. He was arraigned late Saturday and pleaded not guilty. The judge ordered him held without bail, and he is due back in court on Thursday. Prosecutors have hinted that additional charges will be forthcoming. 

Fox News' Michael Ruiz contributed to this report.