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Did DC 911 Call Taker Hang Up On Armed Robbery Victim? | News

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Did DC 911 Call Taker Hang Up On Armed Robbery Victim?

WASHINGTON (WUSA9) -- Did a 911 call taker in DC repeatedly hang up on a woman who had just faced down an armed robber?

That's the allegation that's careening around the Brookland neighborhood in Northeast.

But a spokeswoman for DC Office of Unified Communications says while three calls did come in, the call taker never heard anyone on the other end of the line.

Eduardo Padilla could not quite believe what his roommate was telling him: "She's shaking, almost crying and tells me 'I almost got robbed at gunpoint.' And she said 'I tried to call 911 and I got either disconnected or hung up on.'"

The victim says she was walking home from the Brookland Metro stop when someone came up behind her and said excuse me. She whirled around... and saw a silver handgun right in her face. He said, "Give me your pockets!" and then again, "Give me your pockets or I'll shoot!" "Shoot," she told him, and ran out in the road and tried to wave down passing cars.
The gunman, apparently spooked, ran off by a rec center, apparently making a clean getaway.

We've been unable so far to talk to the victim directly, but her roommate says she tried to get 911 to send help not just once, but three different times... and each time, she told him, the call taker either hung up, or she somehow got disconnected.

Here's the statement from Wanda Royster Gattison of the Office of Unified Communications:

"On May 19, 2013 a caller located in the District of Columbia attempted to call 911 on three occasions from a cell phone between 9:33 and 9:34pm.  The Office of Unified Communications (OUC) did receive the calls, however upon investigation only the call takers' voice can be heard on the recording despite repeated requests for the caller to identify themselves and their emergency.  The call takers who handled the calls indicated that there was an open line and waited for a response from the caller, but no response was audible. On all three occasions,  two separate call takers experienced the same silence from this specific caller, which possibly indicates that the caller's cell phone was muted, or that there was a carrier issue."
"Another individual called at 9:47pm and that call was also received by the Office of Unified Communications.  The audio of this call was reported as an attempted robbery.  The OUC quickly dispatched two police units at 9:49pm."
"All calls for service are taken seriously at the OUC, as we recognize the urgency of emergency situations.  Our investigation indicates that our emergency communication system is working properly.  On May 19th  2013, (3,474) calls for service were answered and processed without incident. There was no indication that other callers experienced a similar 911 interaction."

Padilla says he finally called and police came out... But the police report shows the stick up was Sunday night between 21:25 or 9:25 and 21:28... and police never got a report until 21:47, or 9:47 p.m.

"More than twenty minutes," says Padilla. "Thank God nothing happened to her. But what if she got shot and called 911 and nobody came to help her."