A 911 call dispatcher at the Albuquerque Fire Department has resigned after audio was released from a recent emergency call in which he told a teen, who called to report her friend had been shot, to “deal with it yourself” before abruptly hanging up.
This past June 26, Esperanza Quintero, 17, made a 911 call after her friend Jaydon Chavez-Silver, also 17, was shot in a drive-by shooting at a house party, the Albuquerque Police Department told ABC News today.
Matthew Sanchez, the dispatcher who answered the call, can be heard repeatedly asking if the victim is breathing in audio obtained by ABC News.
Quintero, who can be heard in the audio soothing her friend and telling him to “stay with me” in the call, said she got “frustrated” after Sanchez kept asking the same questions “over and over and over again,” ABC News affiliate KOAT reported.
After asking if her friend was breathing again, Quintero replies, “He’s barely breathing. How many times do I have to f****** tell you?”
“OK, you know what ma’am? You could deal with it yourself,” Sanchez responds. “I’m not going to deal with this, OK?
“No, my friend is dying,” Quintero responds before the dispatcher seems to hang up and the audio cuts off.
Melissa Romero, a spokeswoman for the fire department told ABC News today that “the dispatcher did dispatch units prior to disconnect” and that the “response time was four minutes and 26 seconds, which exceeds national standards.”
Chavez-Silver was taken to a hospital, where he later succumbed to his wounds and died, police public information officer Tanner Tixier told ABC News today. A homicide investigation is ongoing, and though no suspects have been arrested in connection with the drive-by shooting, police are following up on numerous leads, he added.
Quintero told KOAT she isn’t sure if her friend would have made it or not if Sanchez had stayed on the phone, but she wished Sanchez had done more to help her.
“It was his job,” she said. “I don’t understand why he would’ve hung up. I cussed at him once. I was frantic, I was scared. You know, I’m only 17. I don’t know how to handle the situation. I did as best as I could. I tried to keep calm.
“He didn’t talk me through it,” she added. “Obviously, helping people is not for him.”
Before Sanchez resigned Tuesday night, Albuquerque Fire Chief David Downey told ABC News in a statement that he was “immediately removed from the dispatch center and placed on administrative assignment.”
“An internal investigation has been initiated,” he said. “As the Chief of the department, I am taking the allegation very seriously.”