OAKLAND -- A man who watched armed men kick in his neighbors' door Tuesday as he was on hold with emergency dispatchers was nearly shot himself when one of the burglars turned the gun on him as the group sped away.
"I could feel the bullet go by," said Ford Frazier, a 54-year-old Redwood Heights man who was standing on his porch and was on the phone with 911 to report the crime when a shot was fired at him.
"I don't know what their intention was," Ford said, "but it had the effect of getting me (back) in the house."
Frazier was at home on Anderson Drive recovering from knee surgery about 1:40 p.m. Tuesday when he spotted an unfamiliar SUV pull up in front of his neighbor's home and three young men step out and walk to the front door.
"I know those neighbors are an older couple and don't have a lot of house guests," he said.
As he watched the trio, he moved toward the house phone.
"As soon as I was sure they were up to no good, I hit 911," Frazier said. "I see them ring the bell and then they start kicking the door."
Oakland Police Department spokeswoman Officer Johnna Watson said his call was "queued" and on hold for the first available dispatcher for 2 minutes and 35 seconds.
The men repeatedly kicked the door, but the neighbors had installed a secondary security barrier behind the front door, and the burglars got frustrated and left the property, Frazier said.
"They were looking up and down the
When Frazier saw the three men get back into the SUV, he said he hobbled out to his porch, phone in hand, listening to a recorded 911 hold message -- played in multiple languages -- in hopes of getting the license plate number.
"One of the guys sees me and points a gun at me and fires," he said Thursday.
The bullet lodged in the side of his house under the kitchen window. Ford was not injured. He found the casing in the street later, he said.
There was some confusion this week about how long he was actually on hold with 911.
Watson said the call was first broadcast at 1:45 p.m., and a patrol sergeant acknowledged the call at 1:46 p.m.
Descriptions of suspects and the SUV were broadcast to area units, and a patrol unit was dispatched to the home at 1:49 p.m. and arrived about 2 p.m.
Watson said the communication center was handling 12 calls in the minutes preceding the Anderson Avenue call and handled an additional nine calls either during, or immediately after, Frazier's call
When the dispatcher asked Frazier how much time had lapsed since the shooting, he said he told her "10 minutes."
"I was really on hold 2 ½ minutes, but it seemed like an eternity," he said.
Frazier said he later felt badly about the "10 minutes" comment.
"I feel like I misrepresented the police department," Ford said. "I know they are doing the best they can."