VALLEJO, Calif. (KTVU) - Vallejo police admitted Tuesday that they mishandled their response to reports that two children were seen standing outside a window on the second-story of a downtown building.
Video obtained by KTVU shows a little boy, wearing only underpants, standing dangerously close to the edge of a 20-foot drop, as bystanders watch in horror.
"Oh my god! Oh my god! Where are the police?" a woman is heard exclaiming as she watches the boy. "I don't know what to do!"
A little girl in diapers is also seen in the window. Witnesses told KTVU she was also seen on the ledge at one point.
"These kids are out here, you know, they're about to fall and there's nobody here" said witness Lewis Thrower. "And everybody's like, 'Where are the police? Where's the fire department?' "
Vallejo police Lt. Jason Potts acknowledged that dispatchers and officers should have handled the call differently.
"Unfortunately, it appears the call was not properly prioritized, as that kind of call warrants an immediate response, and we didn't do that," Potts said.
It happened at about 7 p.m. Tuesday at the Temple Art Lofts at the corner of Virginia and Marin streets in downtown Vallejo.
Branson Thrower, 9 was just leaving his kung fu practice when he saw the little boy on the ledge, smiling and apparently having fun. But it was no laughing matter for Branson.
"What I thought was, a kid was going to jump, and that would be the end of it - he would die!" Branson said.
Branson said he started yelling to the boy, "Don't jump! Don't jump!"
Branson's mother and many other witnesses repeatedly called 911.
"It just seemed that there was a lack of urgency, you know, we said over and over again, 'Two children are hanging out of a window we need someone immediately,' " Yaselin Thrower said.
Witnesses tell KTVU officers didn't show up for at least half an hour to 35 minutes. No one could get inside the former Masonic Temple because it was locked.
Vallejo police were busy with an armed robbery at the time. But the department says, that shouldn't have mattered. Had the call been properly prioritized, some officers would have been dispatched immediately or perhaps diverted from the robbery, police said.
"We're going to look at our procedures and protocols and make sure this doesn't happen again," Potts said.
Officers too were unable to get into the building and, as of Wednesday, police have been unable to contact the parents. In retrospect, Potts said, the department says officers should have tried harder.
"They should have made extra efforts to establish the apartment, where the kids were associated to," Potts said
Questions remain about the windows. Residents of the building told KVU their windows have "limiters" which they're not allowed to remove. One resident emailed a picture showing how the window pushes out to a certain point.
But in the video, it's clear the children went through at least one window that was propped open.
The police investigation involving the parents remains open. KTVU reached out to building management but hasn't gotten a response.