From the evening of October 9, 2014 to the early morning of October 10, 35-year-old Cecilia Lam called the police eight times to report that an ex-boyfriend named Cedric Young, Jr. was harassing her. Officers showed up at Lam’s apartment multiple times but ultimately were unable to stop Young from killing Lam and turning the gun on himself. Why? In the San Francisco Chronicle, Vivian Ho investigates what happened during the nine hours that led to Lam’s senseless death:
At 8:37 p.m., Cecilia made her first call to 911.
“My boyfriend and I, we’re pretty much fighting right now and I’m asking him to leave my home,” she told the dispatcher. “And he will not leave. … It’s starting to escalate.”
Young had been drinking all day, she said, then quickly added, “He’s actually leaving now.”
“Do you want me to send the police?” the dispatcher asked.
“No,” Cecilia responded. “I think we’re OK.”
But by 9:14, she was on the phone to 911 again, and then again at 9:33 p.m., describing an “escalating domestic violence issue.” Young was back and ringing the doorbell, over and over again.
“I’m getting more scared,” Cecilia said in the third call. “I don’t know if he’s going to break in.”
Ramirez dialed 911 around the same time. “I’m calling to straight up say this guy is insane and he’s trying to get inside,” he reported.
Dispatchers flagged the incident as a “418 DV,” a domestic violence dispute. As Lam made her third call to 911, Officers Adam Lobsinger and Chhungmeng Tov from Southern Station pulled up to the building. They began talking with Young, who had halted his frenzied attempts to get into the apartment.
Lobsinger would write in his report that Young seemed calm and “in good spirits.” Young told him “it was nothing more than couples arguing.”