The mother of a victim in the 2018 Waffle House shooting is asking Nashville’s Department of Emergency Communications to make some changes to its policies.
The recommendations are part of a settlement the Metro Council approved unanimously last month. Akilah DaSilva’s mother, Shaundelle Brooks, says they’re even more important to her than the $35,000 payout she’ll receive. Brooks wants the emergency communications agency to ensure that first responders are sent to the correct GPS coordinates, and she wants the department to document any errors employees make in their personnel files.
Last week, her attorney, Daniel Horwitz, sent Metro a 26-page packet filled with suggested changes to language in the agency’s policy manual, as well as a compilation of best practices for emergency employees.
When DaSilva and several others were shot in April 2018, a dispatcher initially sent police to the wrong Waffle House. Brooks claimed in a lawsuit that the mistake delayed potentially life-saving care for her son, who died shortly afterward at Vanderbilt University Medical Center.
Metro’s legal department says the 42 seconds that passed probably wouldn’t have made much of a difference, because of the seriousness of DaSilva’s injuries. A trauma physician they hired said the damage to his heart was likely untreatable.
But officials have admitted that “significant errors were made” the night of the shooting.
“It took a very long time, and it took civil litigation for Metro to take responsibility for this clear error and to do anything to prevent this from happening again,” Horwitz says.
He says the financial piece of the lawsuit was never Brooks’ or the DaSilva family’s primary concern.
“What they really wanted was to hear from Metro that there was a mistake made here, and we’re going to take steps to prevent it from happening again to next family,” he says.
The settlement requires the city’s Department of Emergency Communications to review Brooks’ policy proposals “in good faith.” DEC Director Stephen Martini has already agreed to consider the changes.
The department has until July 17 to respond.