DENVER (CBS4) – Denver police say they question a 911 operator’s decision after a man was shot to death returning to the location where he was first threatened.
The victims called 911 after being threatened at gunpoint by a group of men at 10th and Sheridan early Sunday morning. They drove into Wheat Ridge but the dispatcher told them to return to Denver, and that’s when the suspects fired on their car killing one man.
Denver police aren’t sure why the victims were ordered to return to the scene where the trouble started.
“We have no idea why this happened,” Ran Pal said.
Pal was driving family members early Sunday morning. He says a Hispanic man in a stolen Jeep Grand Cherokee shot his brother while he was on the phone with 911.
“I look back; I see his eyes start rolling back. I picked him up, ‘Stay awake, stay awake.’ Maybe 30 to 45 seconds later the police finally show up, and by then he was already gone,” Pal said.
His brother was 24-year-old Jimma Palrent. When CBS4 spoke with Pal he was still wearing a shirt covered in his brother’s blood. Pal says a dispatcher said he had to drive back to Denver.
“I told them I couldn’t do that because those people might still be there and they had a gun and I didn’t want to go there,” Pal said. “They told me, ‘Well if you don’t go there we can’t come to your location and you can’t file a police report.’ “
At a press conference Denver 911 Dispatch could not explain the incident.
“We’re apologetic for the circumstance of the call. We want to give due diligence to the employee and make sure we did or didn’t follow the policy as they’re written,” said Ernest Franssen, Denver 911 Operations Manager.
On Monday the operator was placed on administrative leave. It’s unclear what punishments, if any may come. Palrent’s family says they’re outraged and want answers.
“This happens that seems like a fault on the dispatcher’s side. I’m very mad, I’m so mad,” Palrent’s brother Gatwec Dengpathot said.
The 911 communications department held a news conference Monday afternoon. Denver 911 Director Carl Simpson said the operator in the case did not follow the policies and procedures while he was on the 911 call; specifically instructing the men to return to Denver in order to file a police report.
Simpson wouldn’t go in to the specifics of the call but says it’s clear that policies were not followed.
“The call transpired very quickly and it just got sideways very quickly and I will tell you we didn’t do our best work that morning,” Denver 911 Director Carl Simpson said.
Denver police say they would have no problem taking a crime report in Wheat Ridge.
The operator who took the call has been with the communications center for two years.
Simpson would not say if the operator had been involved in any other botched calls in the past.
So far there are no suspects in the shooting. Police have yet to release the 911 call.