Could police have gotten there faster? Could stabbing victim Barbara Killebrew’s life have been saved?

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MILWAUKEE (WITI) -- Could a life have been saved if police response was quicker? That's a question some neighbors of Barbara Killebrew are asking.

Killebrew was stabbed to death inside her home near 24th Place and Melvina on Tuesday, June 24th -- allegedly by her boyfriend.

Barbara Killebrew

Barbara Killebrew

Police have a 52-year-old Milwaukee man in custody.

Police were called to the scene around 5:30 p.m. for a domestic incident. When they arrived, they found a woman who died as a result of multiple stab wounds.

Based on the blood the landlord found in Killebrew's apartment, the stabbing took place upstairs -- but Killebrew managed to make it downstairs to her back door.

Killebrew's downstairs neighbor, who asked that FOX6 News conceal her identity and call her Miss G, says Killebrew called for her and she opened her door.

"She was on her knees. He had her around her neck -- trying to force her back upstairs. I was in total shock. I called his name, asked him to let her go, please. Let her go, please let her go," Miss G said.

Miss G says the suspect was holding a knife, but let Killebrew go.

As Miss G continued to talk with him, Killebrew crawled into her kitchen.

Miss G called 911.

"I told them there's been a stabbing. I gave the address. I told them 'yes, please.' I said 'it's blood everywhere.' I stepped, coming outside, looking up the street. I haven't heard a siren yet," Miss G said.

But Miss G did see a neighbor across the street -- who also called 911.

"It's been 15 minutes already -- and then I got on the phone. I call again. I said 'look -- somebody please come.' I said 'oh, my Lord.' I said 'she's gonna die,'" Miss G said.

Miss G says she ended up calling 911 three times total. Her neighbor called twice.

Milwaukee police say it took them almost 22 minutes to arrive on scene.

According to Milwaukee Fire Department records, they arrived, and had to stage down the street -- waiting for police to clear the scene -- protocol with any crime.

Milwaukee Police Chief Ed Flynn issued the following statement to FOX6 News:

"Dispatch records indicate that the 911 call was received at 5:26:53PM and we had a member on the scene at 5:48:16PM.  Our preliminary review shows that all District squads were either on an assignment or on their way to an assignment at the time the call was received.  We are currently investigating why a squad was not redirected to this assignment earlier." 

Milwaukee police say that based upon their preliminary investigation that the call in question wasn't handled within protocol, Chief Flynn addressed his command staff on Wednesday, and on Thursday -- issued a directive department-wide.

One reminder given is that any squad can be pre-empted from an assignment to handle a "Priority 1" call.

CLICK HERE to read Chief Flynn's Call Management Directive

Police say an internal investigation has begun.

Meanwhile, a fundraiser, with the goal of raising awareness of domestic violence, has been planned for Saturday, June 28th, in honor of 60-year-old Barbara Killebrew.

The "No More Pain" event is planned for 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. at Redemption Fellowship Church on 26th and Keefe.

All money collected will go to the Barbara Killebrew Memorial Fund.

Donations to that fund can be made at any Chase Bank branch.

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  • james

    Milwaukee police say it took them almost 22 minutes to arrive on scene, WOW, that’s why we carry guns…..HELLO

    • Z

      Maybe Flynn needs to have MORE squads handling citizens calls for service like they seem to have before he came in 2008.

  • Former EMT

    I used to work EMS in Milwaukee, and we could call for an emergency police response and by the time they’d get there,all they could do is draw the lines around our cold, dead bodies. 42 minutes one time we were threatened with a gun, never showed when a gang surrounded the ambulance and threatened to kill us and the guy in the back.
    I could go on and on…

  • Mary

    With so much crime going on in Milwaukee, with all the murders they have to follow up on i’m not sure i’d place the blame on the police department. Did they call an ambulance before the police?? Rest peacefully Miss Killebrew, it’s sad for everyone when a good person is taken from the world, you tried to fight hard for peace Miss Killebrew..i’ll never forget that. Sending out love and good vibes to her sorry for your loss.

  • moeshia retreatcesia washingtons

    deys was all at the corner dunkin donuts shop, what’d you taxpayers expects!

  • World Crime Prevention

    It’s Time to fire Chief Edward Flynn. Ever since he became chief, crime is up. Police corruption is up. They should have kept Chief Nannette Haggerty as the Chief. Mayor Tom Barrett should also be fired because he knows that Flynn is a bad Chief & he still keeps him on the force. The Mayor of the city where Flynn was last chief told Barrett not to hire Flynn because he was a bad Chief & had disciplinary problems. It is a disgrace that it took the MPD that long to respond. There is no excuse for that. All the cops in that area should be disciplined. This is why I believe Sheriff Clarke when he said to Arm yourself because by the Time the police arrive it could make a difference whether you are alive or not. Sadly this case just proved it with the MPD’s lazy responce Time. The Milwaukee Police Department has always been a problematic department. Look at the way that the Milwaukee cops used to party naked & get drunk while being ON DUTY in the parks & cemeteries back in the 1980’s & 1990’s around the Time that the MPD & The Milwaukee County District Attorney’s office set up Police Officer Lawrencia Bembenek who was exposing the corruption. Those pictures of the naked & drunk ON DUTY Milwaukee Police Officers can be found in the Lawrencia Bembenek books at

    Police Chief Harold Brier was the most crooked MPD Chief in Milwaukee’s History. All these issues show a bad track history with MPD. All these cops in this case who were in the area should be severely disciplined. In my opinion, yes it took the MPD way too long to respond.

    • Z

      Breier the most crooked? Yeah right. He was the BEST chief. Milwaukee was a lot safer when he was Chief and Maier was Mayor.

  • tracy

    What an unfortunate situation. I understand crime is at an all time high but its AMAZING 2 hear that squads were on other assignments during this time. Yet when I would visit my friend we couldnt help but notice the MANY and/or the Same squads who FREQUENTLY patrolled her block alone. I learned so much from her an she will TRULY be missed!

  • Patti

    It took them 22 minutes to respond, however it only took them 5 minutes to give me a parking ticket. Good figure

  • Patti

    It took them 22 minutes to respond, however it only took them 5 minutes to give me a parking ticket. Go figure

  • Phil

    We hear stories about the heroics of firefighters all the time. “They rushed in while everyone else rushed out” (9/11 responders at World Trade Center). What kind of rescue responder sits idly by while someone is dying? My guess is there is a policy which subjects a responder to severe sanctions if they violate this policy. The fear being that if the policy is not in place, too many responders would act courageously, exposing the less courageous.

    • Sean

      Firefighters are supposed to go right in when there are fires and explosions. They are not supposed to risk their lives being shot at. They risk their lives every day in Milwaukee not knowing the danger in an asthma call when the caller did not say that weapons were involved. Firefighters have been shot at. .. threatened and battered. It’s the police job to secure the scene first.

  • grunt

    Maybe it was the climate set by or allowed by Flynn that allowed this to happen.
    Maybe it was the lack of police officers allowed by Milwaukee’s mayor, while Milwaukee’s police chief remained silent.
    Investigate that, Chief Flynn.

  • rosie

    I truly believe that God is the author and finisher of our fate. He writes the start, co-writes the middle, and closes at the end. With that being said, I don’t believe anyone could have saved Ms. Killebrew on that fate-driven day. God had other plans for her. Let’s just pray that, in the future, the Milwaukee County Police Department will do a better job at responding to distress calls. Priority takes precedence. Besides, it is their job! Fate or not!

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