CLEVELAND – More people are now asking questions about a Fox 8 I-Team investigation about a delay when sending help after a suspected killer called 911. The victim’s family is now demanding answers.
The I-Team played the chilling 911 call for the sister of the victim, Christopher Hardy. He died last month after getting strangled.
It happened near West 111th and Detroit in Cleveland. Police arrested Hardy’s roommate, George Rauls. He made the 911 call, and even he questioned why it was taking so long for police to get there.
On the tape, you hear Rauls tell a dispatcher, “I need a cop ‘cause me and my boyfriend got into it, and I’m about to kill him.” Later Rauls asks, “OK, why is it taking them so long.” A dispatcher responds, “I don’t know where they’re coming from. Couldn’t tell you where they’re coming from.”
The city says it took police nearly 12 minutes to get there. The police union president told the I-Team, other cars in that district were already on priority one calls when police got this one. And the union said this pointed to a problem of short-staffing.
Meantime, the I-Team found dispatchers did not start to send an ambulance until 9 minutes into the call. So we did more checking. We found first responders on a fire truck and paramedics in an ambulance finally got there 18 to 20 minutes after that 911 call had started.
Attorney Anthony Jordan is working with the victim’s family. Jordan said, “The number one question I have is at what point did Christopher lose his chance of survival?” Jordan added, “What other priority one calls were they placing over a murder in progress?”
Earlier city officials said, given that police in that area had been tied up on other top priority calls, not much could have been handled differently. And an assistant safety director told the I-Team he thought the dispatcher did a good job dealing with a man saying he was about to kill someone.
Still, the family of the victim disagrees and believes this deserves a closer look.
George Rauls remains locked up facing charges. He has plead not guilty.
The Cuyahoga County Medical Examiner says Christopher Hardy died at the scene. But the I-Team is still working to find out exactly when. Neighbors say they had heard a loud scuffle there a while before the call.