An Albuquerque, New Mexico, emergency dispatcher has resigned after telling a 911 caller attending to a dying teenager to “deal with it” herself and then hanging up on her, a fire department spokeswoman said on Wednesday.
Matthew Sanchez resigned late on Tuesday without giving a reason, Melissa Romero, a spokeswoman for the Albuquerque Fire Department said in an email. Sanchez had earlier been removed from the dispatch center while fire officials investigated the June 26 emergency call about a 17-year-old boy who had suffered a fatal gunshot.
The dispatcher’s handing of the call sparked controversy and the city’s fire chief described the incident as serious.
Sanchez, who was a firefighter for the city, already had sent paramedics to the scene of a shooting before he hung up on the caller, Romero said.
The caller had told Sanchez she was doing cardiopulmonary resuscitation on the boy, Jaydon Chavez-Silver, and then Sanchez twice asked if the teenager was breathing, according to a recording of the call released to the media.
“He’s barely breathing. How many times do I have to fucking tell you?” the woman said.
“OK, you know what ma’am? You could deal with it yourself. I’m not gonna deal with this, OK?,” he said, before hanging up on her.
Local media in Albuquerque first reported on the call earlier this week. The fire department, in publicly releasing the call, said it omitted the first roughly three minutes of the recording to protect patient privacy.
Sanchez could not be reached for comment on Wednesday.
Esperanza Quintero, 17, told Albuquerque television station KOAT on Tuesday that she was the 911 caller and that she believed it was part of the dispatcher’s job to keep her calm as she attended to her wounded friend, Chavez-Silver.
“Being on the phone and getting hung up on, that just made me more upset,” she told the station.
Chavez-Silver was later taken to a hospital where he was pronounced dead, police said.
The teenager was at a small gathering at a house when a shooter opened fire from outside the residence and struck him, Tixier said. The motive for the attack was unclear and no one has been arrested in the slaying, he said.