LOS ANGELES -- Two Los Angeles police officers have been fired over the way they responded to an initial call about a woman’s screams at an apartment where a UCLA student was later found dead last year, CBS Los Angeles reports.
Veteran officers Rhoadell Sudduth and Alisha Williams were let go.
According to documents obtained by CNN, the officers did not knock on the door or go inside the apartment where a woman was reportedly screaming.
The same apartment was set on fire 30 minutes after the officers left on Sept. 21, 2015.
UCLA student’s charred body was found inside. Two college students have been arrested for her murder and have pleaded not guilty.
DelVesco’s mother can’t help but wonder what if responding police officers had done more after the first 911 call.
A neighbor made that call about a woman screaming and a dog barking and whimpering in an apartment below.
She later told police in an interview and transcripts obtained by CNN:
Caller: “I thought it was coming from downstairs.”
Officer: “Do you know if the officers went and door-knocked downstairs?”
Caller: “Uhm, I talked to him after and he said no.”
“If they had gone into the apartment, maybe Andrea would be alive today,” the victim’s mother, Leslie DelVesco, said. “It astounds me and horrifies me that the police could have left and not made sure that all the girls in the apartment were OK.”
“We’ll never know if when they responded to the initial 911 call if Andrea was alive or not. But we do know that the fire hadn’t been set then. So no matter what, we could have seen Andrea as we remembered her before her body was so badly burned,” DelVesco said.
The officers’ attorney told CNN they searched the exterior of the apartment complex and found no signs of forced entry and even used flashlights to look into windows.
Thirty minutes after they left, DelVesco’s apartment went up in flames.
The LAPD released a statement that read in part:
“The facts and circumstances surrounding the murder of Andrea DelVesco earlier this year was a devastating and unspeakable tragedy for her family, friends, the community and the men and women of the LAPD. We cannot fully comprehend the grief her parents and other loved ones have suffered from their loss and the senior detectives from LAPD’s Robbery Homicide Division worked tirelessly to identify and arrest Andrea’s suspected murderers so that they may face justice. As additional details were discovered about the circumstances of the incident, the LAPD took swift action to hold Department personnel accountable for mistakes made in the initial stages of the investigation.”
Two rookie officers were with Sudduth and Williams that morning. They are still on the force, according to CNN.