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Colorado widow demands answers over slow police response to hostage situation that led to her husband’s death

Colorado couple
Posted at 3:44 PM, Jun 10, 2023
and last updated 2023-06-10 15:44:18-04

(CNN) — A Colorado Springs widow is demanding answers from police after she says they failed to respond quickly to a 911 call to help her husband, who was allegedly being held hostage and was later found dead.

Qualin Campbell, 31, was found dead on June 2 in Colorado Springs, roughly an hour after his wife, Tali’Ja Campbell, said she called 911 after he allegedly texted her to call for help. Campbell said the text messages from her husband included a photo of him in a car with another man she didn’t recognize, along with two other messages that said, “911” and “Send Please!” She said it appeared he was being held against his will.

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“There was no sense of urgency in her voice,” Campbell said, referencing the dispatcher who took her call. “So, I decided to drive to the location that he shared.”

The Colorado Springs Police Department confirmed a 911 call was received, but said they are not able to share details about the call, citing an open and active investigation.

According to the initial incident report, police said two men were found dead when they arrived at the scene just after 2 p.m., less than a mile away from the Colorado Springs police headquarters. Qualin’s death is being investigated as a homicide, according to police, and they are investigating the death of the other man in the car as a suicide.

Campbell is pushing police for details on the lack of urgency in their response, which she claims could have saved his life, according to a news release from her attorney, Harry Daniels. The couple moved to Colorado Springs last July, the release said, and Qualin is originally from Georgia.

“No law officers came until Campbell was found dead having bled out from a gunshot to the abdomen roughly an hour later,” according to the release from Daniels’ office.

Widow says she found husband, performed CPR at scene

During a news conference on Thursday, Campbell said it took her about an hour to get to her husband’s location. When she arrived, she said no officers were at the scene, despite her calling 911.

“I fell to my knees, and I started screaming,” she said.

Campbell said she saw her husband slumped over the driver’s seat of his car. She said she checked his pulse and preformed CPR. She says she stayed at the scene until authorities arrived.

“I shouldn’t have been the one to have to do that,” Campbell said during the news conference, breaking down in tears.

Daniels said he and his client want to know how many officers were on duty and available when her 911 call was made and what other calls took precedence. A call log on Campbell’s phone shows she called 911 at 1:13 p.m. An incident report from police shows officers were dispatched about an hour later – at 2:09 p.m.

“This was a hostage situation where Qualin Campbell was begging for his life, his wife called 911, the police were less than a mile away, but they never responded,” Daniels said.

The Colorado Springs Police Department told CNN in a statement that, “our condolences go out to Mr. Campbell’s family, who we know are suffering greatly. Our top priority is to provide them with answers.”

The department did not confirm whether Qualin had been held hostage.

“We are aware there is information circulating about this case, and we understand the concerns and questions that arise as a result. We will continue to gather all relevant details about Mr. Campbell’s death and ensure the accuracy of our findings,” police said in the statement.