Police Arrive Too Late in Connecticut Shooting, Says Family

Bullying leads mom to call police but help arrives an hour too late.

March 31, 2011, 6:07 PM

March 31, 2011 — -- Police in West Hartford, Conn., are investigating a shooting incident in which a call for help was placed more than an hour before a man was left with critical injuries.

Quintina Texidor alerted police at 2:57 p.m. on Tuesday that teenage boys who allegedly had been bullying her 16-year-old daughter were in front of her home, harassing her and her children. She said she was afraid of a possible shooting.

"She used the term 'air out the house' and alluded about a possible break in," said Police Chief James Strillacci.

In an audio recording of the three-minute call, Texidor tells the dispatcher that her daughter met with school officials at Conard High School that day to report the bullying, and they advised her to "ignore them." She added that someone attempted to break into the house about a week ago and she was forced to change the locks.

"We had a call to a routine line reporting that a member had been bullied," said Chief Strillacci. "She said they walked by the house and made some threats."

A routine line is a local non-emergency number for police dispatchers. The dispatcher who answered Texidor's initial call sent the information to emergency dispatchers, but the call was not sent out to officers.

At about 3:55 p.m. Texidor placed another call to the same routine line and complained that police still had not arrived. This time, however, the call was "upgraded" in importance by police after she mentioned a possible weapon.

Moments later officers were en route to Texidor's home when a third party called 911 and said someone had been shot.

"There was a lag and we're investigating where that was but the call was not sent out," Chief Strillacci told ABC News. "We hope to find the reason for this communication lapse and correct it as appropriate, whether it's a training or hardware issue. This kind of response is certainly not in our standards."

By the time police arrived, Texidor's cousin Wilfredo, who had come to ease the situation, had been shot and was in critical condition.

The Hartford Courant reported that according to relatives, his condition was improving today.

Six teenagers were arrested in connection to the shooting. Andre Cooke, Marcus Stevens, and Justin Reyes (all students at Conard High School in Connecticut) have been charged with breach of peace and interfering with an officer. They appeared before Judge John Newson of Connecticut Superior Court on Wednesday and were all released on a promise to appear.

Police have not released the names of the other three suspects, including the shooter who is charged with attempted murder, because they are juveniles.

Tom Moore, assistant superintendant of West Hartford Public Schools, told ABC News that the first report of any problems came to Conard that Tuesday morning. Texidor's 16-year-old daughter met with an assistant principal and a school resource officer and said she had a problem with other students.

"The day of the incident was the first day anyone at the administration had heard of the issue," said Moore. "While the investigation was continuing later that day we were informed of what had occurred off the school grounds."

There were suggestions of gang involvement in the case, but Chief Strillacci says that he didn't believe there was an organization with structure, hierarchy, colors, or uniforms. Instead, he says, the teens claimed association with a group called "NBA" -- short for New Britain Avenue, the Connecticut neighborhood they live in.

Chief Strillacci says his department will continue to conduct their investigation. "We know there was an issue that started in school but as far as the motive we've heard many accounts but can't confirm any of them."