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'That's valuable time wasted': Family calls for changes to 911 following shooting in East Colfax neighborhood

On July 15, Ma Kaing was struck by a stray bullet outside of Hidden Brook Apartments
Ma Kaing
Posted at 7:00 PM, Jul 26, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-27 10:10:22-04

DENVER —- A family is calling for changes to 911 operations between Denver and Aurora after their loved one was killed by a stray bullet earlier this month.

Ma Kaing was a mother to four children and had recently opened Taw Win Burmese and Thai Restaurant located on Yosemite Street in Aurora this year.

On July 15, she and her children had just arrived home after a late night at the restaurant when Kaing was struck by a stray bullet outside her home at the Hidden Brook Apartments on Xenia Street.

"We heard bullets flying by, that's when I yelled you know, 'Get down!', My siblings got down, my sister got down, my younger sibling ran back in there inside the apartment," said Kyaw Lwin "John" Oo, Kaing's oldest son. "I looked around and I saw my mother's body and I saw that she had a wound to the head, that's when I started yelling for help — I pressed down on the wound too."

Oo believes had EMS arrived sooner, his mother's chances of survival would've been greater.

'That's valuable time wasted': Family calls for changes to 911 following shooting in East Colfax neighborhood

"She [my sister] first called and [the dispatchers] asked where the accident was, she gave them the address," he said. "And then they told her, 'This is the wrong county.'"

Denver7 requested a timeline of the 911 calls from both Denver and Aurora.

A spokesperson for the City of Aurora said their first 911 call was received just before 11:28 p.m.

The spokesperson said the dispatcher stayed on the phone until the call was transferred to a Denver dispatcher. The hold time was three minutes and 50 seconds.

"That's valuable time wasted, I don't really understand why," Oo said.

A spokesperson for the City of Denver said there was no lapse in sharing information between the cities, despite the hold time, because the crime scene's address had already been shared via radio.

Nonetheless, Denver's 911 director, Andrew Dameron, said hold times could be eliminated with more robust staffing.

“Denver 911 strives to meet or exceed the national standards for 911 call speed of answer. Unfortunately, our current staffing challenges have severely impacted our ability to meet those goals," he said. "Even though our speed of answer did not impact the dispatch of Police and EMS to this tragic shooting death, we fully recognize the potential impact hold times can have and are working diligently to increase our staffing.”

In an interview with Denver7, Oo also said dispatchers hung up during various 911 calls. An allegation denied by spokespersons from both Denver and Aurora.

"The second dispatcher that we called gave an attitude. I don't understand that. They gave an attitude to my little sister who was distraught," he said.

While recollections and records surrounding the tragedy may differ, Oo hopes his mother's passing can improve 911 operations between the two cities.

On Wednesday at 11 a.m. a community meeting will be held at Hidden Brook Apartments to discuss crime and the 911 response times to the area.

"I’m hoping many people turn out, you know many people that have lived here for a long time," Oo said.