DENVER (AP) -- A Denver 911 operator who told victims of a road rage incident to wait for officers back at the scene, where one was then fatally shot, has been fired.
Police say Jimma Reat was shot after reportedly being advised by a 911 dispatcher to return to Denver to report the crime.
Raquel Lopez with Denver police said officers received the call in April. it came in around 4:15 a.m. regarding an altercation between two vehicles that occurred in the area of 10th and Sheridan.
“The initial investigation into this matter has determined there was an altercation in the area of 10th and Sheridan that continued north bound on Sheridan Boulevard,” Lopez said in a statement. “After the initial altercation the victims called Denver 911 to report damage being done to their vehicle.”
Lopez said the four victims, who are Sudanese and were driving a white Dodge Charger, were reportedly advised to return to Denver to report the crime.
“They responded to the area of 29th and Sheridan and were waiting for Denver police to arrive when the suspect vehicle returned to 29th and Sheridan and shots were fired,” Lopez said.
“I don’t know what the reasoning was. We respond routinely to area hospitals and other calls all the time to take information,” Capt. Ron Saunier with Denver police said. “I can’t tell you what was going on in the mind of the call taker.”
“We’re absolutely apologetic for the circumstances of the call. We want to give due diligence to the employee and make sure that we did or didn’t follow the policies as they’re written,” said Ernest Franssen, Police Dispatch Operations Manager.
When officers arrived they located a man in his early 20s suffering from an apparent gunshot wound. He was taken to a hospital where he died.
The suspects were said to be four or five Hispanic men. They were driving a stolen red Jeep Grand Cherokee that was found later Sunday morning abandoned in the middle of a road.
“Shortly after this call was received, Denver police received a call of shots fired in the area of 200 block of South Zuni Street. When officers arrived they located an abandoned vehicle possibly matching the description of the suspect vehicle.”
Anyone with information is asked to call Denver police at (720) 913-2000. Remain anonymous and call Crime Stoppers at (720) 913-STOP (7867). Text to CRIMES (274637) then title DMCS and enter the message or send an e-mail to metro-denvercrimestoppers.com