Slain woman’s family claims wrongful death; says 911 dispatcher failed to direct victim to help

10 On Your Side

PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) — Nearly two years ago, a Suffolk woman was brutally gunned down in Portsmouth as she was fleeing her ex-boyfriend.

On Monday night, her family planned to file a civil lawsuit against the City of Portsmouth. They argue the city violated 22-year-old Keytondra Wilson’s constitutional rights, causing her “wrongful death by negligence.”

It’s been nearly two years since Keytondra Wilson was shot to death near the intersection of Portsmouth Boulevard and Des Moines Avenue. Since then, her ex-boyfriend, Jarvis Deloatch, was convicted of first-degree murder and use of a firearm in the commission of a felony and sentenced to life in prison.

The case begins with the 911 dispatcher who takes the call. For the first eight minutes of the call, the dispatcher keeps asking Wilson where she is.

“My ex is following me and every time I stop he tries to get in my car and threatens me with his gun,” Wilson tells the dispatcher in the call.

Wilson knew her life was in peril trying to escape from Deloatch, who would eventually corner her car, walk up and shoot her several times.

During the call, the dispatcher asks, “Is he still behind you?” Wilson answers, “Yes ma’am, and I know if I stop he will pull his gun back out.”

The family’s attorney is Adam Lotkin with Rutter Mills law firm.

“Telling the 911 operator where I am, I’m fearful of my life, and she’s in a very cool, calm,  not hysterical manner … the dispatcher wasn’t trained well,” Lotkin said.

During the 911 call, the dispatcher asked why Wilson was trying to lose Deloatch if she wanted police to respond to the incident. Wilson raised her voice and said “Because he is now trying to hit my car and shoot me with his gun. That’s why.  I am trying to keep my life intact while you are trying to get to me.”

Lotkin argues the 911 operator failed to direct Wilson to a safe harbor
like Portsmouth Fire and Rescue Station One, a mile away, or the police department on Crawford Street, which was three miles away.  

Lotkin suggests the dispatcher should have been trained to get Wilson on a path to get help instead of repeatedly asking where she was.

Seven minutes and 37 seconds into the 911 call, the dispatcher asks whether Wilson is still at “Portsmouth and Des Moines, right?”

“Now,” Wilson answers.

After some silence, Wilson says: “He’s now getting out of his car. I don’t know what he is doing in his car. I’m pretty sure he pulled out his gun.”

The dispatcher responds: “You say he is getting out of the car?”

Wilson says, “Yes, he is out of the car and I’m pretty sure he has the gun on him. Exactly…”

The words end as gunfire begins. Numerous shots can be heard over the 911 call tape. In the call, Deloatch is heard saying “You aren’t going to f—–g talk to me? Huh?”

There’s silence on the call for 13 seconds, then the dispatcher says, “Hello. Ma’am.”

Lotkin said the 911 department failed Wilson.

“… [T]he city despite repeated requests to make this right for the family has stuck its head in the sand, and has not been responding over the last year other than [saying] ‘We are looking into it,'”  he said.

10 On Your Side reached out to the Portsmouth media relations team, but did not receive a response.

Lotkin also said the delay in response from the time of the gunshots to the moment first responders arrived is “unreasonable.”

About 19 minutes into the call recording, a man is heard saying “She’s not breathing” and asking whether he — or someone else — should pull Wilson out of the car and start CPR.

“She has one to the throat, one to the chest…she has 2 to the chest and one to the throat,” the man can be heard saying.

At about 20 minutes in the call, sirens can be head in the background. At 20:25, sirens are getting closer. At 20:57, the sirens are silent.

From the time of the shooting, it took nearly 12 minutes to get an EMT or police to the scene according to sound on the recorded 911 call. The 911 dispatcher knew Wilson’s general location about 7:37 into the call, when they confirmed Wilson was at “Portsmouth and Des Moines” So, from that time until 19:33 when someone in authority can be heard on the 911 tape  is about 12 minutes.

“This unreasonable delay or lack of training or inadequate staffing, there is a large  failure on the city’s behalf,” Lotkin said.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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