PITTSBURGH – Pittsburgh police officials have opened an internal inquiry to determine whether officers responded properly to a New Year’s Eve 911 call placed from a home where a woman was found shot to death less than a day later.
Two officers were dispatched to the apartment of Ka’Sandra Wade and spoke with her boyfriend, Anthony L. Brown, through a window. He told them everything was OK but would not let them in, and the officers left, according to reports in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.
Police said Brown shot and killed Wade, 33, whose body was found by police Tuesday night after family members were unable to reach her. Brown killed himself following a standoff with police at his own apartment Wednesday morning. The couple had a 10-year-old son together.
“The Bureau of Police is conducting a homicide and internal investigation into this incident to determine if all bureau policies and procedures were followed,” Chief Nate Harper wrote in a statement issued Saturday night.
Assistant Chief George Trosky said the internal inquiry is routine, and a police union official said the officers followed protocol.
But Wade’s mother, Sharon Jordan, questioned the officers’ response to the 911 call. She said a homicide detective told her Saturday that her daughter had placed the call, and that officers had spoken to the man believed to be her killer.
“If you hear this commotion and you send the police to the house, why don’t you pursue that?” Jordan told the Post-Gazette. “They could have saved my baby.”
She told the Tribune-Review she last spoke to her daughter sometime after 5 p.m. on New Year’s Eve, and they wished each other happy new year. She said her daughter did not indicate anything was wrong.
Records obtained by the Post-Gazette indicate the 911 call was placed at 10:38 p.m. Police said the 911 operator who took the call heard a commotion before the line went dead. Officers got there 13 minutes later.
Allegheny County Medical Examiner Karl Williams said he could not pinpoint the exact time of Wade’s death, so there’s no way to know whether she was still alive when police arrived.
Pittsburgh police Sgt. Mike LaPorte, president of the Fraternal Order of Police Fort Pitt Lodge No. 1, said the 911 call did not specify the nature of the trouble. He defended the officers’ response.
“We do due diligence on every call. If there was nothing to corroborate information they had, there was nothing there to corroborate,” he said. “We do hundreds of these checks of the well-being calls. We can’t break down everybody’s door that calls 911. We’d be in the courtroom a lot more often.”