A 911 dispatcher who hung up on a frantic girl trying to save her friend’s life after he had been shot resigned Tuesday evening, city of Albuquerque officials said.
“Matthew Sanchez tendered his resignation of employment from the Albuquerque Fire Department effective immediately,” city Chief Administrative Officer Rob Perry said in a statement.
Seventeen-year-old Jaydon Chavez-Silver was fatally shot by a drive-by shooter on June 23 as he hung out with friends in the kitchen of a Northeast Albuquerque home.
Esperanza Quintero, 17, immediately jumped in to try to save him, calling 911 while giving him CPR after he had been shot in the chest.
In a moment of panic, Quintero cursed at the 911 dispatcher, Sanchez, who then hung up on her as her friend lay dying.
“It was his job. I don’t understand why he would have hung up,” Quintero said in an interview with KOAT-TV on Tuesday.
After the Fire Department released a recording of the call on Monday evening, the story was reported by local news organizations and was quickly picked up by national media outlets.
Sanchez, before tendering his resignation, had been reassigned and was performing administrative duties because of the way he handled the 911 call, AFD Chief David Downey said in a prepared statement issued earlier.
Quintero called 911 after Chavez-Silver was shot while watching his friends play cards. The popular high school athlete later died at a hospital, and police are still investigating the shooting.
During the phone call, Sanchez asked Quintero at least twice if Chavez-Silver was breathing.
“He is barely breathing. How many times do I have to (expletive) tell you?” she said.
Then Sanchez’s tone changed.
“OK, you know what, ma’am? You can deal with it yourself. I’m not going to deal with this, OK,” Sanchez said as he hung up.
“No! My friend is dying,” Quintero said as the call disconnected.
Quintero said she was frantic as she tried to call for help, verify the address and give her friend CPR at the same time.
“I was frantic. I was scared,” she said. “I’m only 17. I didn’t know how to handle the situation. I did the best I could. I tried to stay calm.”
Melissa Romero, a spokeswoman for the Fire Department, said Sanchez had dispatched an ambulance to the scene before he hung up the phone. She said the ambulance arrived 4 minutes and 26 seconds after it was dispatched.
Sanchez had been with the Fire Department for 10 years. He was originally a firefighter and had the rank of driver, Romero said. He had been assigned to the emergency dispatch center for three years and five months, she said.
He made $24.92 per hour, according to the city’s website.
“An internal investigation has been initiated,” Downey said. “As the chief of the department, I am taking the allegation very seriously.”
Quintero didn’t believe reassigning Sanchez was enough.
“He should find something else to do because, obviously, helping somebody is not for him,” she said.