MEMPHIS, TN (abc24.com) - It's the 911 call Memphis basketball legend Lorenzen Wright made just moments before he was gunned down in 2010. His body wasn't found until more than a week later. His family blames 911 operators for dropping the ball, saying the entire Shelby County 911 system is broken and needs to be fixed
The Wright family is suing Germantown, Collierville and Shelby County, accusing them of mishandling this case. Wright's mother, Deborah Marion, wants to you hear the tape for yourself.
On July 28, 2010, Lorenzen Wright's family, friends and fans rushed to the field where investigators found his body in a southeast Memphis field. What no one knew at the time was that Wright had called 911 from the same location, nine days earlier.
The delay meant police lost crucial evidence.
"We might not have saved his life, but we could have gotten some evidence," Marion said.
When Wright dialed 911, he was in the Memphis city limits near the Germantown border. But, the call was routed to Germantown instead of Memphis.
Wright's mother says after dispatchers determined the call was made outside Germantown's jurisdiction, operators dropped the ball.
"I want everyone to hear it because I want them to know he was calling for help and it was ignored."
The Germantown 911 operator said on the call she heard gunshots, but later, Germantown administrators said operators thought it may have been fireworks.
"Since that date there has been some indication that they're trying to say this may have been fireworks, firecrackers versus gunshots, but its clear their first impression is that it was indeed gunshots," said Forrest Craig, one of Marion's lawyers. "The call speaks for itself, it’s the highest priority and we're of the opinion it was an absolute inadequate response."
Marion stated, "I tell my grandkids don't call 911, call your grandma because 911 isn't going to do you any justice."
Marion believes if Shelby County had a centralized 911 system, her son's body would have been found sooner giving police better leads. For years the county has talked about consolidating. It's never happened because the municipalities don't want to give up control of their turf.
"I want them to rework the 911 system," she said.
Almost three years after the murder Wright's mother remains determined to find who fired those fatal shots. She hopes releasing this tape will spark a lead and help solve the case. She is now suffering from ovarian cancer and wants the case solved while she is still alive.
"As long as I've got blood running warm through my body, I'm not going to let it rest."
Germantown, Collierville and Shelby County won't comment on this story because of the pending lawsuit. The case is expected to go to trial this fall.