WILMINGTON, Del. -- Instead of sending police to an address where a caller reported that shots were fired, a city 911 operator called her boyfriend, who in turn sent a text to warn the apparent shooter.
That operator, 26-year-old Alleshia L. Kennedy, has been charged with hindering prosecution, official misconduct and malicious interference with emergency communications.
According to a court affidavit, Kennedy was working on Jan. 9 when a call came in about a shooting just before 11 p.m. A caller, who had reported shots fired moments earlier to a different 911 operator, was calling back to say she got the address wrong and said the shots came from a different home several doors down.
"OK, we'll let the officers know, yeah, we'll change it. We'll let them know," Kennedy answered, according to the affidavit.
But instead of entering the new address, police say Kennedy used her cellphone to call her boyfriend, who in turn immediately texted someone named "Crook" to warn him, "Bro sum lady called the cops and told … (your) crib iz where the shots came from."
Kennedy's boyfriend was Deontay Willingham, 24, a convicted felon.
Willingham also texted Crook, "So be easy and clean up" and that the information about the address "was never put in," along with a final instruction, "Erase dis."
According to court papers, when a 911 operator receives a call, the information is supposed to be entered into a computer system so that a dispatcher can relay the information to officers in the field.
"If the 911 call taker does not enter the notes for the call for service, the 911 dispatcher is unaware of the incident, and the call for service will not be dispatched to officers," according to the affidavit.
The investigation of Kennedy was apparently launched after Willingham's arrest on Jan. 16, according to court papers. Willingham had led police on a high-speed chase while behind the wheel of a Chevy Malibu registered to Kennedy.
The chase started when Willingham fled from a traffic stop and ended when he crashed the Malibu into a telephone pole. Police said Willingham was wearing body armor and had a loaded .45-caliber handgun and a loaded .22-caliber semi-automatic rifle in the car.
Police also recovered two cellphones from him that revealed the text exchange with "Crook."
Investigators then reviewed 911 tapes from Jan. 9 and identified Kennedy's voice on the tapes taking one of the six calls about the shooting that night, according to court papers. A further police review of computer records showed that Kennedy did not enter the information she received from the caller about the location of the shots fired.
A check of Kennedy's cellphone showed she had talked with Willingham both before and after the shooting, according to the affidavit.
Kennedy was arrested late Monday and later released on $6,000 secured bond. She faces up to 2 1/2 years in prison if convicted on all charges.
"By court order she is restricted from Wilmington police headquarters," Cpl. Mark Ivey said on Wednesday. "Her status as an employee will be determined by an internal review process."
She is scheduled to be arraigned in New Castle Court of Common Pleas in March.