Listen Live

BUFFALO, N.Y. – A 911 dispatcher accused of mishandling and cutting off a call from a supermarket employee during a mass shooting last month was fired on Thursday.

>> Read more trending news

Erie County administrators fired the dispatcher, who had been placed on leave, for her actions while an 18-year-old gunman opened fire at a Tops Family Market in Buffalo, New York, on May 14, killing 10 people, WIVB-TV reported.

County spokesperson Daniel Meyer said a hearing was held Thursday morning for a police complaint writer — the formal title for the employee — and she was no longer employed with the county as of 12 p.m. EDT Thursday, The Buffalo News reported.

The man accused in the shootings, Payton Gendron, pleaded not guilty to one count of a domestic act of terrorism motivated by hate in the first degree; 10 counts of murder in the first degree; 10 counts of murder in the second degree as a hate crime; three counts of attempted murder in the second degree as a hate crime; and one felony count of criminal possession of a weapon in the second degree.

The 911 dispatcher, who has not been identified by county officials, reprimanded Tops employee Latisha Rogers for whispering and told the assistant office manager to speak up, WIVB reported.

>> Buffalo supermarket shooting: 911 operator suspended after hanging up on caller

“She was yelling at me, saying, ‘Why are you whispering? You don’t have to whisper,’” Rogers told the News. “And I was telling her, ‘Ma’am, he’s still in the store. He’s shooting. I’m scared for my life. I don’t want him to hear me. Can you please send help?’ She got mad at me, hung up in my face.”

Roger relayed a similar description of events to The New York Times and WGRZ-TV, adding that she dropped her phone and when she picked it up, the call had been disconnected.

Rogers said she then called her boyfriend and told him to call 911.

>> Buffalo supermarket shooting: Cashier witnessed 2010 mass shooting that killed brother

The News identified the dispatcher as Sheila E. Ayers. Reached by the News, Ayers, an eight-year 911 call taker with Erie County’s Central Police Services Department, said she was working in the Enhanced 911 call center the day of the shooting. Ayers said she was sorry about what Rogers experienced during the shooting, but added that the employee changed her story about what happened at the supermarket “multiple times.”

“I’m being attacked for one side of the story,” Ayers told the News.

This dispatcher was placed on administrative leave on May 16, but the county was pushing for her dismissal, WIVB reported. Last month, Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz said the dispatcher’s actions were “inappropriate” and “unacceptable.”

Poloncarz said that call-takers are trained to recognize that if the person on the other end of the phone is whispering, that means the caller is likely in danger, the News reported.

Denise Szymura, president of Civil Service Employees Association Local 815, said the union will file a grievance regarding Ayers’ termination, according to the newspaper.

Poloncarz said he would release the transcript and recording of the 911 call, but First Assistant Erie County Attorney Jeremy Toth said neither would be released due to a New York state law that states 911 calls “shall not be made available” to the public, the News reported.