AURORA, Colo. (KDVR) — A father and daughter who survived a home invasion described the harrowing moments they were held at gunpoint — and then had to wait four hours for police to respond.

The invasion took place in the Highland Park neighborhood. At one point, the 12-year-old girl had a gun pointed toward her head and was pepper-sprayed.

The child wanted to speak out about the ordeal, and her parents gave her permission to have the conversation.

“When I sat up, he had the gun curved to the door like this, and he pointed me and said, ‘If you don’t move quick enough, I’m going to shoot you,'” the girl said.

Family waits for hours for police help

She and her father were in their basement when they heard someone upstairs. Two men had broken in. The men ransacked drawers, stole shoes and a cell phone and pepper-sprayed the father and daughter.

“I sat down and I was coughing really bad, and I was like crying because It hurt,” she said.

They sat quietly in the basement thinking the robbers might still be in the home.

At 3 a.m., three hours after the attack, the father was able to make an old cell phone work and called 911. But police did not arrive in this neighborhood until four-and-a-half hours later.

“Due to the suspects not being on the scene any longer, the call was coded as a Priority 2 call,” the Aurora Police Department told FOX31.

Aurora Police describe a “Priority 2 call” as a type where there is no immediate threat.

“Due to this high number of calls and the delay in reporting, we did not respond until 7:30 a.m. this morning,” Aurora Police spokesperson Sgt. Faith Goodrich said.

Goodrich said the Department strives to respond to calls in a timely manner, but call loads and staff shortages can extend the response time.

“They should have come quicker. I’m disappointed in the Aurora Police Department,” said the father whose home was invaded. Disappointed, but glad he and his daughter are alive and well.

Aurora Police give breakdown of the invasion response

Aurora Police provided a detailed assessment of the call and the department’s policies and procedures.

Here is the complete response from Aurora Police:

On 06/16/22 at 02:54 hours Aurora911 received a call from (home address redacted by FOX31). They advised that someone had robbed them at gunpoint and sprayed their dog with pepper spray at about midnight. They told Aurora911 that the suspects left two and a half hours prior. 

Due to the suspects not being on scene any longer, the call was coded as a Priority 2 call.

Priority 1 calls are typically an “in-progress” crime. This would be something where the suspect is still on scene or there is an immediate threat to life.

Priority 2 calls are calls where the suspect is no longer on scene and there is no immediate threat to life. There are also priority 3 and priority 4 calls which are usually informational or administrative in nature.  

Prior to this incident there were six priority 1 calls and ten priority 2 calls that were being handled or waiting to be handled by patrol officers. 

After this incident, and before the call was dispatched, there were eight priority 1 calls and fifteen priority 2 calls received by Aurora911. Of those priority 1 calls, there was person threatening suicide, a domestic violence situation with an injured victim, a male actively threatening to hurt people in a convenience store, a welfare check where someone was injured, an active family dispute, and two separate shots fired calls.

District 1 Graveyard Patrol works 10 pm through 8 am and was staffed by 14 officers in 12 patrol cars. This is fully staffed for the time period but any time there is a high number of calls, it quickly drains resources and response time can suffer. 

Each call is a two-officer response at minimum and might require more depending on the type of call.  When one District is taxed with a high number of calls, we often depend on the other districts to assist.

Unfortunately, District 2 was also very busy with calls. They had 36 priority 1 and 2 calls during that time.

Due to this high number of calls and the delay in reporting, we did not respond to (home address redacted by FOX31) until 7:30 am this morning.

We strive to respond to calls in a timely manner but due to call load and occasional staffing constraints response times can be extended. We understand this is not the level of service that our community members expect from their police department.  

Aurora Police Department