Dallas Police Blame 911 Caller's "Heavy Accent" for 75-Minute Response to Armed Robbery
On Sunday night, four men tried to rob Pepe's Grocery on Bernal Drive in West Dallas. One of them was carrying an assault rifle, but the manager of the closed store drew first, hitting his target with two shots from his .38. The would-be robbers fled, leaving a trail of blood behind.
The manager, Joe Cho, called police and waited. And waited. And waited. And finally, 20 minutes after shooting an intruder, he locked up and went home. Officers arrived at the store some 75 minutes later.
"I'm at home safe, everything, I relax right now," Cho told the Morning News' Scott Goldstein. "Then you call me about an hour something later, you want me to come back over here."
Dallas police have a perfectly reasonable explanation for this. "The caller had a very heavy accent and was speaking very quickly," a DPD spokesman said in an email to media Tuesday evening. "The call taker had a very difficult time understanding the information and did not hear the caller say 'shot' or 'shoot.'"
The department would have come closer to its targeted robbery response time of 12 minutes had there not been a report of a shooting a few blocks away -- the wounded gunman, it turns out, who had been left by his accomplices.
Police released the 911 call, which you can listen to below. It's really garbled. Hats off to the call taker for gleaning there was a robbery. Cho definitely says "shot" a couple of times, but it's easy to miss on the first listen, even if you're listening for it. Hard to fault the troubled 911 call center here.
What that leaves us with is the simple fact that it took Dallas police more than an hour to respond to an armed robbery. That's a long time.