Allegheny County District Attorney Stephen Zappala said Monday he's reviewing the details of a fatal New Year's Eve shooting in which the victim requested police via 911, only to have her attacker turn the officers away through a window and apparently proceed to shoot her.
The body of 33-year old Ka'Sandra Wade was found Tuesday in her Larimer home. Her boyfriend and suspected shooter, 51-year old Anthony Brown, killed himself after a standoff with police at his own apartment in Point Breeze on Wednesday.
The Pittsburgh Bureau of Police is conducting an internal investigation of the officers' actions, trying to determine if they followed protocol. After Wade gave her address to authorities, police said the 911 operator heard a commotion and the line went dead. Two officers were sent to Wade's apartment and spoke to Brown through a window. Brown reportedly told the officers that everything was okay, but he would not let them inside and the police left the house roughly ten minutes after speaking with him.
After the weekend announcement of the internal inquiry, the DA's office says it will also look into the case.
"There are a number of questions that need to be answered concerning the death of Ka'Sandra Wade and what information was communicated regarding the call placed to 911," said Zappala, in a written statement. "I am not going to comment any further until reviewing a transcript of the 911 call in question as well as any history of domestic violence that may have been present between Wade and Anthony Brown."
According to the Women's Center and Shelter of Greater Pittsburgh, which trains police on domestic abuse protocol, the victim must tell police that he or she is suffering domestic violence in order for officers to gain right of entry. Wade's case is complicated because her 911 call was cut short after she gave only basic information.
"If it's a situation of domestic violence, [police] would go in and they would separate the victim from the alleged abuser," said Women's Center Associate Executive Director Janet Scott-Mace. "In this particular case, I think what is missing is that there was nothing communicated that this was a domestic violence situation."
"Was any protocol or policy violated? It doesn't sound like it," said Scott-Mace.
She said domestic violence history is recorded according to the victim's address; since Wade had recently moved, police may not have had immediate access to any potential records.
The police union said the two officers followed protocol.