DENVER (CBS4) – New information has been released about a 911 call that might have played a role in a murder last weekend.
The incident happened after a group of Sudanese immigrants in a car were attacked in Denver. They left the city but an emergency dispatcher told them to come back to file a report.
“He did tell us that he was in shock. He did tell us that he was covered with shards and that he was shaken up,” said Carl Simpson, Denver 911 Executive Director.
Simpson said the 911 operator failed to order medical attention immediately after learning of the injuries. Instead the car kept going to Denver where the suspects reappeared and shot Jimma Reat to death.
“The operator on the phone told me they couldn’t come to my location because I was in the Lakewood area and I had to come back to Sheridan where the incident took place,” Reat’s brother Ran Pal said.
Denver 911 officials say if the caller is outside the city limits, depending on their safety, they will be told to return to make the report. That’s what happened in a case involving a woman who now lives out of state.
“Two guys in a car had pulled up next to me and started throwing things at my car and one pulled out a baseball bat and hit the back of my windshield,” the woman said.
Her story is documented in 911 records from that day in 2004. It describes the woman as crying hysterical.
“It scares me. You know they should come to you. You shouldn’t have to go back into their territory that this happened in,” she said.
Lenny Rubner was a Denver 911 dispatch four years and trained others. He says callers are routinely told to go back to Denver.
“The overall policy is for them to go back into the jurisdiction to make a report,” he said.
CBS4 obtained a copy of the Denver 911 master incident guide, but could find no specific policy about when to send a caller back to Denver when a crime has occurred. It is judgment the call taker must make quickly, and correctly.
The 911 operator who took the call last weekend remains on leave while the investigation is completed.