The 911 call made to report the shooting of Toronto-native and Florida State University professor Dan Markel was mistakenly categorized as a low-priority call, resulting in a 19-minute wait for paramedics to arrive.
The edited audio of the 911 call made by Markel’s neighbour, who found him sitting in his car, in his garage, with a gunshot wound to his head on July 18, was released by Tallahassee police on July 31.
The Tallahassee Democrat newspaper reported that the emergency dispatcher mistakenly designated the call as a priority three, rather than a priority one, which alerts emergency responders that there has been a shooting.
“He’s still moving around. He’s alive,” the caller said.
“The driver’s side window is all bashed in and he’s got blood all over his head… the caller added. “He’s not responding to me… You need to send an ambulance in a hurry,” he said.
At the end of the 12-minute call, during which the caller repeatedly asked for an update about when police and paramedics would arrive, the dispatcher said a police officer would arrive at the scene first.
“OK, well, we need EMT,” the neighbour said.
“[EMT] aren’t going to come until we figure out what’s going on,” the dispatcher said. “But they are on the way as well.”
“They’d better be if this guy’s got a shot at living,” the caller replied.
Markel, 41, a law professor, and a father to two young boys, died in hospital the following day.
Tallahassee police continue to investigate the mysterious murder of the well-liked, accomplished academic and have increased the reward to tips leading to an arrest from $3,000 to $10,000.
As police have yet to announce whether they have any suspects in the case, many are speculating about who could have held a grudge against Markel that was strong enough to lead to murder.
The Tallahassee News reported that hostile messages posted on Markel’s popular blog called “PrawfsBlawg,” as well as another blog called “insidethelawschoolscam,” suggest that some people, possibly former law students who were struggling financially, could be angry with and jealous of Markel, who was successful.
In January 2012, Markel had engaged in debate with people posting on “insidethelawschoolscam.” Some were expressing anger that law schools were leading students to believe it was much easier to find a career in law than it actually was.
“Do you have the empathy to compare the terror that goes through a 26-year-old’s life when a student loan bill comes due and can’t pay it? When he can’t even get a job at Walmart because the education you sold him under false pretenses is so worthless that it won’t even advance his candidacy at retail?” wrote one anonymous poster.
Another message that reportedly caused Markel some worry came from a poster who accused Markel of being a “law school scammer.”
“You’re worried about your home and private life being a target?” the poster wrote.
“What about your graduate’s homes and private lives? (Or lack thereof?)
You know, in addition to being law school graduates, the class of 2010 are, collectively, sons, daughters, husbands, wives, brothers and sisters.
AND? YOU’VE RUINED THEIR LIVES YOU FOOL. So yes, ‘all means necessary’ are important to shutting people like YOU down.”
Another theory presented by a local Florida news station involves the fact that Markel had been commissioned as a consultant in a New Jersey-based case involving rabbis who were accused of kidnapping and assaulting Jewish men who refused to grant their wives with gets, divorces under Jewish law.
In December, the Village Voice reported that the men who were arrested in October following an FBI sting operation, are accused of beating men, sometimes electrically shocking them with a cattle prod, until they recited the divorce oath in front of a rabbi.
New York attorney Benjamin Brafman who represents one of the rabbis, said his client, who is being monitored by ankle bracelet as he awaits trial, is not connected to the Markel murder.