Multiple calls to 911 from family with gunman on doorstep go unanswered for hours

A family building a home in Dallas says they feared for their lives as a man with a gun knocked on their front door while two others stole equipment at the building site. 

They say they made multiple calls to 911. It was nearly nine hours from the first call to when an officer arrived.

Dallas police say by the time officers were free to get to their call for help, the information they received in follow-up calls changed the urgent response.

The Benjamins are building a new house on an Oak Cliff street about a mile from the south central police substation and had been staying in a trailer while building their new home.

"Still nervous, they've asked we not show their faces. But that's when three men they say drove up onto their job site and got out of two trucks.

"I walked across the slab while he was doing his thing, and I asked him what were you doing? What's going on? And he just looked at me and didn't say a word," said Richard Benjamin Jr.

The son went back in the RV, and that's when they say one man came to the door.

"And then he started pulling on it," said Richard’s mother, Asantewa Benjamin. "I stood up 'cause I was sitting right over there, and I said, ‘He got a gun! He got a gun!’"


Woman shot and killed in West Oak Cliff parking lot over abortion, police say

26-year-old Gabriella Gonzalez was at the Shell Station on S. Walton Walker Boulevard in West Oak Cliff when she was shot and killed on Wednesday morning.

She and her son made calls to 911.

"And I asked them please hurry! Please! He's knocking on the door," Asantewa said. 

"They were saying they were on the way, but no one showed up at all," said Richard Benjamin Sr. 

The family made a total of four calls to 911. Police confirmed that and explained what happened. 

At 7:34 p.m., two calls came in and were entered as priority 1 disturbance armed encounter burglary in progress. All officers were tied up on other calls.

Two additional calls indicated the suspects had left the scene, and no one was injured.

At 7:49 p.m., due to the updated incident information, no crime in process, no life or property currently in danger, the priority call was changed to a lower priority.

An officer contacted the family around 4:30 a.m. the next morning to make a report.

"She was wondering, ‘Are y'all inside?’ I said, ‘No, ma'am. Nobody's trying to be in there. And Y'all just now coming? Y'all just now calling? This was 7:30 yesterday," Richard Jr. said.

Trying to maximize limited manpower, police gauge their response relative to the present danger. When danger is no longer imminent, the urgency to get to your call changes.

Despite that, the department says the incident is under review to be certain the call was handled as it should have been.