Reverse notification error alerts Aurora residents to possible explosion instead of murder suspect

Dispatch calls the error a "glitch"

AURORA, Colo. - Aurora dispatchers sent out a reverse notification call with bad information as investigators were searching for a homicide suspect Wednesday night.

A woman was found dead inside a home in the 2600 block of South Lima Street. The woman's daughter, Isabella Guzman, was arrested Thursday afternoon outside of a parking structure near the home.

On Wednesday night, Aurora dispatch sent out a reverse notification call to warn residents near Yale Avenue and Lima Street, about a homicide suspect. Instead, residents received a late night call about a possible explosion.

Multiple 7NEWS viewers said the reverse notification call said that residents might hear a loud noise from a controlled detonation near 1690 Paris Street.

That address is where Aurora theater shooting suspect James Holmes lived, and where police warned of a possible controlled detonation in July 2012.

"I was just waiting for the big boom and thought it would be over with, and when I didn't hear the boom, I wasn't concerned about anything else," said resident Sharon Webb.

Webb lives just doors away from the crime scene on Lima Street, which was still surrounded by yellow crime scene tape on Thursday night.

Webb said that her and her neighbors never received a phone call about a homicide investigation.

"No, all of them said it was this detonation at this address that we didn't even know where it was," said Webb.

She didn't realize there was a crime scene until 8 a.m. on Thursday morning when she went outside to get the paper.

7NEWS reached out to Aurora dispatch multiple times on Thursday.

One dispatch supervisor said she did not have to provide 7NEWS information about the reverse notification calls and to contact the Aurora Police spokesman.

"I still haven't been able to confirm ­­­what happened, what was said, what should have been said, how many people that went out to," said Aurora Police spokesman Frank Fania. "That's handled by our communications center. The communications department is not part of the police department."

Earlier in the day, one dispatcher told 7NEWS that a "glitch" caused the reverse notification error, but would not say if it was human error or how the error occurred.

Another dispatcher told 7NEWS that the call in error was retracted with another phone call and then followed with the correct notification.

"Did you ever get a phone call saying, 'Oops, this is what we meant to tell you?'" asked 7NEWS reporter Marshall Zelinger.

"No, no, no. Nothing," said Webb.

7NEWS wants to know how many residents received the original reverse notification alerting residents to a controlled detonation. We also want to know when the retraction phone call was sent and to how many phone numbers. We also asked when the correct reverse notification was delivered and to how many residents.

A city spokeswoman is looking into those issues and promised an update on Friday.

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