Language barrier hinders 911 call

July 1, 2008 12:00:00 AM PDT
A brother and sister were shot to death in their Mountain View home and police have the frantic 911 call made one hour before they were killed. Police say it was a brief 911 call, one that was difficult to understand because a language barrier.

Before Teresa Sanchez and her brother Omar Aquino were shot and killed in their Mountain View home, Sanchez is believed to have made a desperate call for help.

Investigators believe she called 911 from her cell phone, whispering to the CHP dispatcher someone was breaking into her home, but before the dispatcher could confirm the address, the call ended.

"From what they could tell, she said she lived on a street that sounds like Clemon Street. We don't have a Clemon Street or anything that remotely sounds like that here in Mountain View. So at that point we spent time repeatedly, the dispatchers and officers trying to call back the number in hopes of getting her back on the line," said Liz Wylie with the Mountain View Police Department.

Mountain View officers and dispatchers even called surrounding cities to see if they had a street called Clemon. They also called Sanchez's cell phone carrier in hopes of getting her address that way, but all their efforts weren't fast enough.

As they were trying to figure it out, police started getting calls of shots being fired, on Plymouth, not Clemon Street.

Sanchez, her brother and her eight-year-old son, who was asleep during the shooting, live on the 1900 hundred block.

"We all wonder if what might have happened had we gotten the call or if GPS information popped up with the CHP or had she not disconnected the line. We will never know, but we know that we did everything we could to try and prevent this," said Wylie.

As to why the shooting happened in the first place, police still aren't sure. They don't believe it was a robbery and they don't know if it was gang related. Still, they say it appears the victims knew at least one of the people who broke in.

The victims' stepmother didn't want to be identified, but she said if it were gang related, she and her family have a lot to fear. Their lives could be in danger.

Mountain View averages one homicide per year, but this double murder was the city's fourth and fifth homicide since January.


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