Slow response by Dallas police angers armed robbery victim

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by REBECCA LOPEZ

Bio | Email | Follow: @rlopezwfaa

WFAA

Posted on May 6, 2013 at 3:54 PM

Updated Monday, May 6 at 7:03 PM

DALLAS — The Dallas Police Department is looking at another possible breakdown in the city's 911 phone system.

A store owner called police just before 11 p.m. Sunday to say he had just been robbed and shots were fired, but it took Dallas police nearly 90 minutes to respond.

Four robbers, armed with rifles, walked into Pepe’s Grocery Store in the 4800 block of Bernal Dr. Sunday night. The store owner said they demanded money, so he fired his .38 caliber revolver. Then he called 911.

He would only talk to News 8 off-camera, because he said he is afraid of retaliation.

"I called and told them I was robbed, and that I had shot at them and they at me," he said.

Police records show the call came in at 11:00 p.m. as a robbery, but wasn't answered by officers until 12:15 a.m. When officers finally arrived, the store was locked.

"We waited until 11:20 [p.m.], but no one came -- took too long," the owner said. "So, we went home and I took a shower and got a call about 1 a.m."

Officers made the owner come back and show them the surveillance tape. According to court documents, on the tape, officers saw a suspect “...with an assault rifle and saw the store owner fire his weapon."

The question is, why did it take Dallas police nearly an hour-and-a-half to respond to a robbery with shots fired?

The 911 system was recently overhauled after a controversial call involving Deanna Cook. Her murder was captured on tape, but it took officers nearly an hour to respond.

News 8 asked Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings if he was concerned.

“Public safety is our number-one concern and our police have got to get there," he said. "So, I want to make sure we examine every detail on this and then we'll take appropriate action, and we need to."

One of the alleged robbers in this case, Jamarcus Allen, was caught later at an apartment complex not far from the store after a citizen called in a suspicious person. The three other suspects got away.

News 8 asked Dallas police repeatedly for a response. They issued this statement on Monday evening:

"The Dallas Police Department is currently looking into all the facts and circumstances surrounding the robbery offense that occurred at Pepe’s Grocery, 4819 Bernal Drive. One suspect is in custody however detectives are pursuing additional leads to determine if other individuals are involved."

E-mail rlopez@wfaa.com

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