Failure of 911 Call Dispatching Resulted in the Suspect’s Escape August 29, 2018
WASHINGTON D.C. — The District’s 911 call taker failed to dispatch police to an elementary school Monday. A concerned parent reported witnessing an aggravated driver threatening to shoot and run over the school crossing guard.
The parent of a student at Lafayette Elementary School on Broad Branch in the Chevy Chase section of D.C. called 911 at 3:27 p.m. to report an angry man who was giving treats to kill the guard after he yelled anti-Hispanic insults.
The dispatcher wrongly classified the incident as Priority 2, rather than Priority 1. No police officers were dispatched to the school until 27 minutes later when a school nurse also made a call.
“Once the person said, ‘threaten to shoot,’ that should have prompted a Priority 1 response,” said the agency spokesperson.
Two minutes later a nurse’s call was dispatched, and officers arrived at the school within 5 minutes, but the suspect fled the scene.
Lily Buerkle, the parent of a child at Lafayette Elementary, had heard a man in a blue Nissan SUV who was yelling angrily at the school crossing guard.
The driver made a U-turn, yelling at nearby school children, nannies and caretakers, Buerkle said.
“I heard him say, ‘I should shoot you up,’” she said.
An investigation is ongoing and the call taker could be disciplined for the incident.