Albuquerque dispatcher tells 911 caller ‘deal with it yourself’; man dies

Flowers placed in the shrubs outside the house where 17-year-old Jaydon Chavez-Silver was shot and killed while socializing with a group of other teenagers in Albuquerque, New Mexico. A New Mexico dispatcher has resigned after telling a panicked 911 caller who was trying to save Jaydon Chavez-Silver's life to "deal with it yourself." Albuquerque, New Mexico, June 27, 2015 | Photo by Marla Brose/Albuquerque Journal via AP, St. George News

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — A 911 caller said she was panicked about a friend being shot but stayed as calm as possible before a New Mexico dispatcher told her to “deal with it yourself” and hung up as she sought aid.

Seventeen-year-old Esperanza Quintero told The Associated Press Wednesday that she wished dispatcher Matthew Sanchez had done more to help after her friend Jaydon Chavez-Silver was shot in June while watching friends play cards inside a home. He later died.

In the recording, Quintero snaps at Sanchez for repeatedly asking whether the 17-year-old Chavez-Silver is breathing.

“It was upsetting at the time but I didn’t have a choice,” Quintero said. “What more could I have done?”

The exchange illustrates the stress that comes with life-and-death 911 calls and how they can be mishandled.

“Somebody with no experience at all, it’s almost understandable,” said Brett Patterson of the International Academies of Emergency Dispatch. “But if you’re trained and certified, it’s not forgivable. That should never happen.”

Officials said Sanchez was employed by the Albuquerque Fire Department for 10 years and was a firefighter before being assigned to a dispatcher job. It was unclear why the change was made.

He resigned Tuesday after the recording was made public.

Efforts to reach Sanchez were unsuccessful. A message left with Local 224 of the International Association of Fire Fighters, the union representing Albuquerque firefighters, was not immediately returned.

Dr. Jeff Clawson, medical and research director of the academies, said records show Sanchez became certified as a dispatcher in February 2012 and was recertified two years later.

“He had relatively high scores on the exam. There were no other notes negative or otherwise in the file,” Clawson said. He added that Albuquerque has a top-notch reputation within the emergency dispatch community.

Most training makes emergency dispatchers aware that being on the receiving end of comments by an angry caller is a common occurrence. The key is not to take it personally, Patterson said.

“You need to keep yourself out of that fray and understand, empathize that people on the other end of the line are in their worst possible position,” he said.

Quintero told KOAT-TV that she tried to stop Chavez-Silver from bleeding and gave him CPR.

“I am keeping him alive!” Quintero is heard saying on the 911 call.

Sanchez asks, “Is he not breathing?”

The caller responds, “Barely!”

The caller is then heard frantically encouraging Chavez-Silver to keep breathing.

“One more breath! One more breath!” Quintero tells him. “There you go Jaydon. One more breath! There you go Jaydon. Good job! Just stay with me, OK? OK?”

Sanchez then asks again, “Is he breathing?”

Quintero responded, “He is barely breathing, how many times do I have to (expletive) tell you?”

“OK, you know what ma’am? You can deal with it yourself. I am not going to deal with this, OK?” the dispatcher says.

It seemed from the tape that Sanchez hung up on the caller in mid-sentence.

“No, my friend is dying,” she said as the call ended.

Sanchez dispatched an ambulance to the scene before he hung up and it arrived less than five minutes after it was sent, Fire Department spokeswoman Melissa Romero said.

Chavez-Silver was rushed to a hospital where he died. Investigators said a bullet struck him in his upper body.

Chavez-Silver’s mother Nicole Chavez said the family was heartbroken after hearing the 911 call.

“It was like a nightmare coming back all over again and hearing our son fight for his life in the background,” Chavez said. “I am deeply upset with the dispatcher, his behavior and response on the call was completely unacceptable.”

Patterson said the dispatcher should have acknowledged Quintero’s frustration then forged ahead with whatever protocol he was trained to follow.

“You move on with what’s actually happening at the scene and disregard the emotional content,” he said.

The family said Chavez-Silver, a recent high school graduate, had enlisted in the U.S. Air Force.

Police said he was watching the card game at a friend’s house when six shots were fired at the bay windows from outside. Witnesses said Chavez-Silver yelled that he had been shot then fell to the floor.

No arrests have been made in the shooting.

Written by RUSSELL CONTRERAS and TERRY TANG, Associated Press; Tang reported from Phoenix

Follow Russell Contreras on Twitter.

Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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30 Comments

  • native born new mexican July 30, 2015 at 9:58 am

    I have been following this story in New Mexico. The whole story is sad and unfortunate. I don’t think the dispatcher did the right thing. I think there is way too much violence (cop and community ) going on. I think kids are out of control at younger and younger ages. I think this goes back to a break down in society, starting with a break down in the home and the family.

  • fun bag July 30, 2015 at 10:32 am

    is this one of those “trending viral stories”? remember the good ol’ day when a clown like this would just be fired and the whole entire world wouldn’t have to hear about it and make facebook posts saying ” that man is so mean wah wah wah”. Just another clown and not really a news story…

    • izzymuse July 30, 2015 at 1:44 pm

      I agree with you that the dispatcher is a clown, BUT does this one story represent a common problem coming up in our society? Yea, the dispatcher is a clown, but a clown among A LOT of others clowns in today’s America who are all examples of the “us against them” mentality or the “class warfare” that has always been a problem of humans in general, but people are tired of seeing it.

      .
      The dispatcher’s way of thinking seemed to say, “Ah well, this kid isn’t worth saving, he seems like a punk..etc. deserves to die”

      • fun bag July 30, 2015 at 2:17 pm

        i think ur overthinking it iz. dispatcher having a bad day and just didn’t feel like getting yelled at by some ghetto punk. i would’ve hung up too i think. plus they deal with tons of prank calls and other crap. they have no way of knowing if a call is even legit…

        • REAL LIFES MOMMY July 31, 2015 at 2:43 pm

          Oh FUN BAG I agree with you 100 percent

  • fun bag July 30, 2015 at 10:34 am

    LOL, the pic is nice tho. pretty plants… lol

  • Free Parking July 30, 2015 at 10:53 am

    LOL.. You tell ’em Dr Phil. Wanna. be. Ha ha ha ha. LOL wow your absolutely amazing. Ha ha ha ha. LOL.

    • Real Life July 30, 2015 at 12:17 pm

      Literary genius.

      • Free Parking July 30, 2015 at 10:39 pm

        Tell us all about it REAL DORK

      • REAL LIFES MOMMY July 31, 2015 at 2:45 pm

        Yes he is sweetykins you wanna sit on mommies lap and tell me all about it.?

  • fun bag July 30, 2015 at 11:12 am

    The real story here is how illegal aliens and mexican drug gangs are taking over the country, but everyone’s worried about a dispatcher that was maybe having a bad day…

    • fun bag July 30, 2015 at 11:13 am

      Plus the person did the job and sent an ambulance. Not much u can do for a gunshot beside stopping the bleeding anyways. This might very well be one less gangbanger off the streets

    • native born new mexican July 30, 2015 at 12:15 pm

      Why did you have to bring illegals and and or Mexican drug gangs into this. You know nothing about who lives in New Mexico or what goes on there. The boy that was killed was not a gang banger. He was at the wrong place at the wrong time. Everyone involved in this situation are LOCALS. It is what I said. At younger and younger ages LOCAL kids are out of control. There is a societal breakdown. Albuquerque and surrounding areas are in crisis because of society wide problems. The large population of American Indians in New Mexico are having terrible problems with this also. It is a LOCAL problem; including the drug use that goes on. New Mexico is a VERY poor state. These kids grow up in that and at young ages they become violent. It is a very sad situation.

      • ladybugavenger July 30, 2015 at 12:51 pm

        The native Americans were treated worse than blacks ever were. You don’t learn that in white school history class. I love the native Americans, an oppressed group of people that were by all accounts in a fight against genocide and they have been fighting for a place in this country ever since and the native americans were here first. Immigration started in 1492.

        • native born new mexican July 30, 2015 at 1:27 pm

          Ladybugavenger I understand what you are saying. That is part of why it is so tragic that they have the huge social problems that they do. They do have huge social and family problems. I wish better for them. I hope they can start finding some solutions to their problems. I grew up with the problems and I know well what is going on. SO SAD!

        • JOSH DALTON July 30, 2015 at 2:56 pm

          Well you can blame the Mormons for that! I would have to agree to a point. Black folks were brought here against our will then treated badly. The Native Americans, were lied to, ran off their land and murdered so the white man could live here. I always wonder what would happen if the roles were reversed. Would black folk have ran the Indians off their land and made white folks slaves, then oppress them for the next 400 years? I wonder…”us black folk just aint smart enough for that”

      • fun bag July 30, 2015 at 2:21 pm

        I bet NM is full of illegals and drug gangs. someone should clean house…

        • native born new mexican July 30, 2015 at 10:42 pm

          You are welcome to try, since you think some one should do it. I give you maybe three days on the job before some unpleasant thing happened to you. I won’t go into detail what that might be because it would get an R rating for violence. You are a brave guy. I am sure you are up to it.

    • ladybugavenger July 30, 2015 at 12:46 pm

      Obamadontcare

  • Free Parking July 30, 2015 at 12:45 pm

    LOL. Ha ha ha ha. LOL.. You should be a politician all that space used up for a post and you said absolutely nothing

  • fun bag July 30, 2015 at 2:58 pm

    and politicians are scared of coming out against the mexican drug gangs because they don’t want to alienate the hispanic vote. So we have an infestation of illegal alien criminals and drug gangs and no one is doing anything. Other than taxes have to pay $30,000 a year to keep one illegal alien criminal in the prison system. So if they are illegal it’s best to deport them whether they are a criminal or not.

    • Free Parking July 31, 2015 at 2:18 pm

      FUN BAG absolutely but they need that illegal anchor baby. drug dealing. raping. murdering. car stealing. burglarizing. vote… Notice to St George News. This comment did not refer to any specific race or religion. but I’m sure someone will be offended.. Oh well to bad.!

  • Ronnie Keith July 30, 2015 at 5:07 pm

    Everyone forgets that the indians were the first illegal aliens. They walked into America from europe across the frozen land bridge. And once here killed all the people that were here first then took their land! And blacks were the first to own, and sell slaves. But it is not PC to speak the truth anymore. The powers that be have declared it…

  • mesaman July 30, 2015 at 5:28 pm

    Six in one day, scumbag. A new Guinness record.

    • 42214 July 30, 2015 at 11:49 pm

      Mesa, aside from your obvious Oedipus complex, you’re showing signs of obsessive/compulsive disorder by counting fun bag’ s comments. For your own good, get professional help.

  • Free Parking July 30, 2015 at 10:36 pm

    Mesa no that’s 7 in one day counting you scumbag

    • Real Life July 31, 2015 at 8:29 am

      Oh, I forgot to mention the mathematical expertise that this genius brings to the table. Copernicus himself had nothing on this guy! Absolutely amazing.

      • REAL LIFES MOMMY July 31, 2015 at 2:47 pm

        Yes honey poo he is amazing. You wanna sit on mommies lap and tell me all about it.?

  • Free Parking July 31, 2015 at 2:31 pm

    Oh and I forgot to mention the mathematical expertise that idiot REAL LIFE DORK brings to the table Copernicus himself had nothing on blow hard idiot REAL LIFE DORK. LOL! is that all you got.? how boring. Whaaaaaaaa Whaaaaaaaa Whaaaaaaaa

  • Free Parking July 31, 2015 at 2:34 pm

    Well REAL LIFE DORK I’m looking forward to your next stupid comment.. have a nice day sweetie pie.

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