Tuesday, December 16, 2008
Brittany Zimmerman called 911, but died while waiting for police to arrive. The 21-year-old University of Wisonsin-Madison student was stabbed inside her downtown apartment on April 2, but managed to call 911 at 12:20 p.m. The dispatcher, Rita Gahagan, hung up the phone after missing Zimmerman's screams and struggles for help and didn't call the number back in violation of policy.
By the time police arrived 48 minutes later, Brittany Zimmerman was dead. Her fiancé Jordan had already found her when they arrived. Until now, the details of the 911 delay had not been revealed.
According to a police report, Gahagan said the noises in the 911 call "didn't register as anyone in obvious distress" and proceeded to visit a restaurant and a news website after receiving Zimmerman's 57-second call. She also checked her email and sent personal messages while on duty. A job evaluation said that she "exceeded requirements in every category."
Since her apartment door was broken down, police think a stranger was involved, but no one has been identified.