Grandmother questions 911 hold time after grandson shot by stray bullet
Kansas City, MO (KCTV) — A Kansas City grandmother is questioning what happened when she called 911 for help after her 4-year-old grandson was shot by a stray bullet.
The bullet shattered the window and traveled into the family room where Elijah and his brother were playing. The gun was actually fired from blocks away through a treeline.
Wisdom Williams called 911 for help and was placed on hold because all call takers were busy.
“I’m thinking, ‘Lord have mercy! This is ridiculous!’ I can’t believe it. I’m in shock. 911 you aren’t answering … and I’m in a crisis. This is tragic. What am I going to do?” she said. “It’s terror, sheer terror because you don’t know where gunshots are coming from. I don’t know the extent of his injury, and I don’t have a vehicle and I can’t get the people I’m supposed to rely on 911.”
Williams became her own first responder. She called her daughter for a car and used washcloths to stop the bleeding.
“I called 911 and couldn’t get anybody,” she said.
So, Williams packed a bleeding 4-year-old and his siblings in the car and drove to the hospital eight miles away.
“It’s scary … the children in the back are crying, and he’s still bleeding,” Williams said.
What happened to Williams and her grandson has happened before. People across Kansas City in desperate emergencies call for help and hear an automated recording.
Those hold times have been the focus of numerous KCTV5 News investigations.
On Saturday, the day Elijah was shot, the average wait was 22 seconds. That’s more than double the acceptable hold time according to national standards. And that 6 p.m. hour when he was shot was even worse.
Call takers answered 120 calls for help. The average wait was a full minute, and someone waited more than four minutes to simply connect with a real person.
Elijah is doing better and says his 5-year-old brother is actually a superhero who saved him.
“He saved my life,” Elijah said.
And in some ways, you might say Williams is a superhero too, but it’s not a role she wanted to play.
“I never felt so helpless, scared, afraid and confused in my life. We really needed them,” she said.