Kansas Shoppers Step Over Dying Woman
By ROXANA HEGEMAN,AP
Posted: 2007-07-04 09:37:01
WICHITA, Kan. (July 4) – As stabbing victim LaShanda Calloway lay dying on the floor of a convenience store, five shoppers, including one who stopped to take a picture of her with a cell phone, stepped over the woman, police said.
The June 23 situation, captured on the store’s surveillance video, got scant news coverage until a columnist for The Wichita Eagle disclosed the existence of the video and its contents Tuesday.
Police have refused to release the video, saying it is part of their investigation.
“It was tragic to watch,” police spokesman Gordon Bassham said Tuesday. “The fact that people were more interested in taking a picture with a cell phone and shopping for snacks rather than helping this innocent young woman is, frankly, revolting.”
The woman was stabbed during an altercation that was not part of a robbery, Bassham said. It took about two minutes for someone to call 911, he said.
Calloway, 27, died later at a hospital.
Two suspects have been arrested. A 19-year-old woman was charged with first-degree murder. Another suspect who turned himself in had not been charged as of Tuesday, the Sedgwick County prosecutor’s office said.
The district attorney’s office will have to decide whether any of the shoppers could be charged, Bassham said.
It was uncertain what law, if any, would be applicable. A state statute for failure to render aid refers only to victims of a car accident.
Eagle columnist Mark McCormick told The Associated Press he learned about the video when he called Wichita Police Chief Norman Williams to inquire about a phone call he had received from a reader complaining about a Police Department policy that requires emergency medical personnel to wait until police secure a crime scene before rendering aid. McCormick said Williams then unloaded on him about the shoppers in the stabbing case.
“This is just appalling,” Williams told the newspaper. “I could continue shopping and not render aid and then take time out to take a picture? That’s crazy. What happened to our respect for life?”