CLEVELAND (WJW) – The FOX 8 I-Team has uncovered delays surrounding the murder of a young mother.
Neighbors didn’t report gunshots.
Then, hours later, dispatch didn’t send officers right away when someone finally called 911.
So, now, Cleveland police have opened an internal investigation involving dispatch.
The first call to 911 came in at 7:42 a.m.
A man called and said, “I’m just waking up this morning, and my neighbors say they heard shots last night. They heard a lot of commotion, arguing over there. So, when I go outside to investigate and look, I see blood all over there in her driveway.”
Yet, the call taker, ultimately, asks, “What do you need the police to respond out for? Anything?”
And, the man responds with, “I’m saying that the lady who stays next door, something might be wrong with her.”
We reviewed dispatch records.
We found after that call came in, a police car did not get sent until more than an hour later. Then, officers discovered the murder scene.
The chief’s office says the call was first labeled a lower priority for “suspicious activity.”
We reached out to the victim’s sister.
Marsita Ferguson said, “Cleveland’s got to do better. I will say the detective, though, he’s been doing a really great job keeping me updated. A police force isn’t just one detective, so they need to do something about their police services.”
Joshua Lynch now sits behind bars facing charges. But, police say, after the shooting he took the child with him and left the scene. They say he ended up giving the child to a relative. Days later, investigators say, he turned himself in for the crime.
The victim’s sister says no matter what happened with witnesses and the 911 call, the suspect deserves the blame.
Marsita Ferguson said, “It’s not their fault this happened. It’s JR’s. The responsibility falls on him.”
Still, the police delay is now part of an internal investigation.
Sgt. Jennifer Ciaccia wrote in an e-mail, “This incident was initially coded as a code 3 assignment for suspicious activity for shots fired the night before. The call was dispatched to police officers at 0849 and officers arrived on scene at 0859. This matter is currently being reviewed by Bureau of Communications supervision and a disciplinary review process has been initiated for two members of the Communications Control Section regarding the call being coded a Priority 3 and not upgraded to a higher priority.”
Back to the first citizen’s 911 call, the caller finally repeated, “My neighbors heard everything, and they told me… did I hear anything? I was asleep.”
And dispatch responded with, “We’re going to send the police out that way, okay?”