Lawyers for the family of Qualin Campbell, the Newnan native shot to death Friday in Colorado Springs, said Thursday they will seek “every legal redress” to find out why it took police an hour to answer his wife’s 911 call that he was being held hostage less than a mile from police headquarters.
That includes potential lawsuits, calling on the U.S. Department of Justice, and requesting an outside investigation, Atlanta attorney Harry Daniels said.
Campbell, 31, was working as an equipment repairman when a man identified as David Karels, 44, a Colorado Springs resident, got into his company car.
“He was just trying to do his job — working, provide for his family,” Daniels said.
Campbell worked for All Copy Products as a repairman dispatched to work on computers, fax machines and other office equipment, his wife Tali’Ja said.
He managed to text Tali’Ja Campbell, who called 911; but by the time police arrived he had already been shot and killed. Karels was dead too. The case is being investigated as a murder/suicide.
Tali’Ja Campbell, Qualin Campbell’s mother Annette Campbell, Daniels and Colorado attorney Kevin Mehr spoke publicly Thursday in front of Colorado Springs police headquarters. Local TV stations livestreamed the event.
“I received a text message from my husband pleading for help,” Tali’Ja Campbell said, crying. His message included a picture of suspect.
She dialed 911, reaching the El Paso County sheriff’s office because she was outside city limits, Daniels said. She was transferred to Colorado Springs police dispatch.
Tali’Ja Campbell said she told police she thought her husband was being held hostage, and gave them the exact address and a description of the suspect.
Tali’Ja Campbell said she was disturbed by the lack of urgency in the 911 operator’s voice.
“So I decided to drive to the location that he shared,” she said. “When I pulled up to the parking lot I could see his car, and I started to immediately panic.”
She jumped out of her car and ran to it.
“What I could see through the windshield was that he was slumped over,” Tali’Ja Campbell said. She could also see the other man sitting in the car with a gun in his lap. That made bystanders afraid to open the car door, but she did anyway and searched for a pulse on her husband.
She couldn’t feel one. Her uncle helped her pull him out of the car
“It was me that had to perform CPR on my husband in a pool of blood,” Tali’Ja Campbell said. She broke down and left the microphone saying: “I shouldn’t have been the one, I shouldn’t have been the one!”
The family remains “without answers,” and the biggest question is why it took police more than an hour to respond, Mehr said.
“Mr. Campbell’s family was the first on the scene,” he said.
Colorado Springs police released a brief account of the incident under the headline “Victim Identified from 10th Homicide.” It said police were dispatched at 2:09 p.m. “to investigate a shooting.” It does not mention the time of Tali’Ja Campbell’s call.
Daniels said call logs show Tali’Ja Campbell was on the phone with 911 operators for nine minutes, long before a shots-fired call came from someone else. Officers responded “fast” to that, roughly an hour after Tali’Ja Campbell’s hostage call, he said. Police acknowledged Thursday that they had received her call, Daniels said.
A hostage situation should have been the highest priority response for police, but though Tali’Ja Campbell was nearly an hour away from the scene, she was the first to arrive, Daniels said.
“I don’t know what they were doing in there or not doing, but they received that phone call, they confirmed it,” he said, pointing at police headquarters.
Daniels said attorneys have filed record requests with police, seeking to find out how many officers were available and what calls took precedence over Campbell.
Daniels said he understands Karels had an extensive criminal record under several names. But it will probably never be known why he got into Campbell’s car, though it apparently had no connection with Campbell’s job, he said.
Qualin and Tali’Ja Campbell met while attending the University of West Georgia in Carrollton, and moved to Colorado in July, Daniels said. Her family lives there and Qualin Campbell soon found a job to support his family, Daniels said. Tali’Ja Campbell said they moved to Colorado Springs in search of a calm, quiet life with their two daughters, 4-year-old Isabella and 14-year-old Surayah.
The family announced that funeral services for Qualin Campbell will be held at 1 p.m. Saturday, June 17, at Summerhill Baptist Church of Newnan, 95 Turkey Creek Road, Newnan.