The Dallas Police Department is facing scrutiny over its response to an apartment shooting in the 6000 block of Ridgecrest Road that resulted in the deaths of two parents. Officials reportedly entered the victims’ home days later to find the dead bodies and two children playing with toys and saying their parents wouldn’t wake up.
Northeast Dallas residents David Stewart, 27, and his children’s mother, Jimena Nunez, 24, were found dead in their apartment on Wednesday, June 29, after possibly being murdered three days prior.
Sandoval’s sister-in-law Lizette Faz said the ordeal is “heartbreaking.”
Local law enforcement received a 911 call from a neighbor on Sunday, June 26, around 11:58 p.m. who told the dispatcher she believed a fight had transpired and she heard four shots and loud banging in the apartment, local station WFAA reports.
Despite saying she heard gunshots, the call was not assigned to a patrol until 1:45 a.m., which didn’t arrive until 2 a.m.
Once the cops arrived at the home, two hours after the initial emergency call, they knocked on the door and left when no one responded. No further follow-up was done regarding the reported fight or gunplay.
Kristen Lowman, a spokesperson for the DPD, stated, “Responding officers knocked on the door several times, and announced themselves as police.”
“Officers also listened at the door for sounds coming from inside the apartment and didn’t hear anyone inside,” she continued, noting the officers said they saw “no sign of a forced entry into the apartment.”
“With officers not hearing or seeing any signs of anyone inside the apartment or a sign of a disturbance, officers cleared the call and went back into service,” the spokesperson said.
Stewart questioned the officers’ mindset and how much sense their decision to leave made. She stated, “I don’t know why they didn’t try to go in or try. I just feel if you get a call like that and somebody heard shots, you should go in, and go in the apartment and see.”
The department stated that by the time the call came through Dallas was experiencing an uptick in 911 calls, with at least a dozen being categorized as “priority 2.”
A priority 1 call might be to assist a distressed officer, major accident on the freeway, animal attack, a robbery or kidnapping in progress, violence at a school, child abduction, drowning, a shooting, stabbing, or other acts that might require police attention.
According to Dallas police, a priority 2 might be freeway blockage, a report of a suspicious person, fire, missing person, speeding/ racing, cruelty to a child or an animal, or a suicide.
It is unclear if this call, one that was reported as a shooting, was considered “priority 1,” and if so why did it take officers two hours to show up at the door.
Law enforcement only returned to the apartment for a welfare check days later, after a different neighbor called to report their neighbors’ 3-year-old daughter was roaming outdoors without supervision. When the neighbor asked the young girl where her parents were, she took the individual back to the apartment and showed the concerned neighbor the gruesome scene.
Stewart’s mother said people told her when this batch of cops came to the apartment, the older daughter was playing with her 8-month little sister.
Latoya Stewart said in an interview, “I did hear where they said when someone got there, they were just in there playing with toys. You know, just saying mommy and daddy won’t wake up.”
“The oldest daughter’s the one who opened the door,” the children’s aunt, Faz, told NBC DFW.
The grandmother wants to know more details about her son and her grandchildren’s mother’s demise, asking, “Did they just immediately pass away? Or did they suffer for a day? Or bleed to death? I don’t know. But I feel like if the police and ambulance would have gotten there, maybe they could have at least gotten them to the hospital.”
Faz has questions too. She tearfully wondered when talking to the press, “If gunshots were heard, why not try to break the door down? There’s two babies in there. They were left alone for that long.”
The children are currently being cared for by family members, who celebrated the young child’s fourth birthday on Saturday, July 2.
Officials are now looking for the killers, believing the perpetrators also may have stolen the couple’s car, a black 2014 Nissan Sentra with Texas license plate HNT9708.
The department is asking for anyone with information about the shooting or who might have seen the car connected to the family to contact Det. Yahir Perez at 214-671-4735 or email the official at [email protected], using the reference case number 116917-2022.
Also, Crime Stoppers has offered a $5,000 reward for anyone with leads to an arrest or indictment for the crime, asking for people to call 214-373-8477, between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m.