911 Puts Woman On Hold While She Watches Her Husband Being Shot

Friday, August 3rd 2012, 7:40 pm
By: News On 6

A Broken Arrow woman witnessed someone shooting her husband in their Tulsa convenience store.

Police said a robber shot her husband - the store's owner - after he got mad that there wasn't any money in the store's safe.

His wife was at their home in Broken Arrow and was watching a web-based surveillance camera feed of the store on her iPad.

8/2/2012 Related Story: Tulsa Store Owner Shot During Robbery, Wife Sees It Live Via Web Cam

The owner of the Convenient Food Mart in the 1000 block of North Utica was filling in for an employee that night. As his wife watched the surveillance feed, she saw a robber burst into the store and fire off a warning shot.

She immediately called 911. Because she was in Broken Arrow, her 911 call went there. When they realized the crime was happening in Tulsa, they transferred her.

A dispatcher at Tulsa's 911 answered and asked her if she needed police, fire or EMSA.

She said she asked for police and sat on hold until she finally gave up and hung up.

Meanwhile, police said after the warning shot, the robber forced the store's owner to get on the floor. The owner of the store struggled with the robber, refusing to have his hands tied.

He told his family later he wasn't scared and did everything he was told concerning handing over the money.

His daughter told us the robber got mad when he was told there was no money in the safe and shot the owner while he was lying on the floor.

Tulsa's 911 center said his wife's call was transferred to them at 10:08 p.m. They said she sat on hold for three minutes before she hung up.

The 911 center admits three minutes is too long, when the national standard is closer to 20 seconds. They said they were already short-staffed and then had one or two people call in sick Thursday night.

"A lot of times, it's just a perfect storm," said Ken White, with the 911 center. In this case, there weren't as many call takers as we'd like and we were busy, with a big influx of 911 calls right then."

In the meantime, they said at 10:10 p.m., the owner called 911 himself, so help did arrive, but only because he was able to call.

The 911 center said they weren't able to call his wife back when she hung up, because Broken Arrow's system isn't compatible with Tulsa's, so they couldn't see her address or phone number.

Ken White: "They're a different system. We cannot get a location and number from Broken Arrow, nor can they get it from us if we transfer a call to them," White said.

They do have compatible systems with most other neighboring towns, so had a call come from one of them, they've could've called back.

They said they are working to improve staffing issues and service.

They also said, if you get put on hold, don't hang up.

"Have faith in the 911 system. If your call holds, stay on the line, we're gonna get to them," White said.