|Updated: 8/03/2012 5:55 pm
||Published: 8/03/2012 6:31 am
A robber is shot a Tulsa clerk at a convenience store and the clerk’s wife saw it happen though a surveillance system at home.
"It's real sad what happened,” said neighbor and regular customer, Maria Gomes.
Tulsa police said around 10:15 pm Thursday night, a robber held up a 62-year-old at the Convenient Food Mart in the 1000 block of N. Utica.
Police said the gunman who had hit the store a few minutes earlier came back and shot the clerk in the back.
Investigators said the wife witnessed the robbery she called 911 put hung up after being on hold.
The wife was watching through an internet feed around closing time when a man walked into the store, shot her husband and missed.
The crook then grabbed the cash and tried to tie up her husband with his belt.
When that didn’t work the robber came back and shot the victim.
Despite being an eye-witness, the wife was never able to reach a Tulsa 911 operator.
A day after the shooting regular customers stopped by but the store was closed.
"It's sad that you can't even go to your neighborhood grocery store without worrying that someone is going to come in and start shooting. It's scary," said regular customer, Scott Simpson.
Through the bars behind the windows there are signs of a robbery.
"I'm shocked,” said regular customer, Greg Norris.
The cash register is still open and the place is ransacked.
"I'm scared, real scared," said Gomez.
The 62-year-old store owner is recovering from a gunshot wound to the back.
"He is the nicest guy you will ever meet in a lifetime,” said Norris.
All of this happening while the owner’s wife was in her Broken Arrow home watching the surveillance feed.
"My heart goes out to her that she would actually see her husband go through that,” said Norris.
Police told FOX23 News the wife called 911 and the Broken Arrow operator transferred her to Tulsa.
"She said my husband's store is being robbed," said 911 Communications, Ken White.
She waited for a police dispatcher but eventually hung up.
"She was on hold for three minutes,” said White. "It's not acceptable. We are doing everything we can to keep that from happening,” said White.
White said how Broken Arrow’s system is set up, it doesn’t allow Tulsa to trace back the call.
White said at the time, they were shortstaffed and flooded with calls.
Some were not an emergency.
"I had someone call 911 and say ‘I have a very important question’. A question is not 911,” said White.
Thirty-five seconds after the wife hung up, the clerk managed to call 911 and got through to an EMSA dispatcher.
Meantime, 911 Communications in Tulsa is working to hire more dispatchers.
"It's not a case where we can bring someone in and have them answering phones in two days."
One thing that could have helped, if the woman had first told the operator her husband was shot instead of being robbed. That would have triggered a medical emergency.
FOX23 News spoke to people who knew the victim, they said he is doing okay and is expected to survive.
The robber has not been caught. The victim told police he was wearing gloves and a mask.
The mayor has created a Public Safety Task Force to consider ways to improve the 911 center.
911 Communications in Tulsa recently hired a dispatcher training coordinator and a full-time tech to review efficiency.