911 dispatcher resigns after hanging up on panicked teen caller

An emergency dispatcher in Albuquerque, N.M., has resigned after telling a 17-year-old girl attending to a shooting victim to 'deal with it' herself and hanging up. 

An emergency dispatcher in Albuquerque, N.M., has resigned after telling a panicked teenage caller trying to save her dying friend to “deal with it” herself and then hanging up on her.

The 911 call was made by 17-year-old Esperanza Quintero after Jaydon Chavez-Silver, also 17, was fatally shot by a drive-by shooter at a friend's house on June 26. Immediately after Mr. Chavez-Silver was shot, Esperanza called 911 and began performing CPR, the Albuquerque Journal reports. Jaydon later died.

In a recording obtained by the Associated Press, veteran firefighter and dispatcher Matthew Sanchez asked Esperanza multiple times if Jaydon was breathing, causing Esperanza to snap, “He is barely breathing. How many times do I have to [expletive] tell you?” 

Mr. Sanchez then replied, “OK, you know what, ma’am? You can deal with it yourself. I’m not going to deal with this, OK?”

"No, my friend is dying,” Esperanza begged as the call ended, but was cut off mid-sentence as Sanchez hung up on her. 

Sanchez resigned late Tuesday without giving a reason, according a spokeswoman for the Albuquerque Fire Department. The previous day, fire officials had announced that he had been reassigned out of the dispatch center while the call was under investigation.

Sanchez, who was previously a firefighter for the city, already had sent paramedics to the scene of the shooting before hanging up on Esperanza. 

“I was frantic. I was scared,” said Esperanza in an interview with KOAT-TV. “I’m only 17. I didn’t know how to handle the situation. I did the best I could. I tried to stay calm.” 

Esperanza said she wasn’t sure whether additional guidance from the dispatcher could have saved Chavez-Silver’s life, but still would have appreciated the support. 

When asked what she would say to Sanchez if she could, Esperanza answered that she would apologize for “giving him attitude.” However, she said, that doesn’t excuse his actions: “He should find something else to do because, obviously, helping people is not for him.” 

This report includes materials from Reuters and the Associated Press. 

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