911 call details graphic moments before domestic violence death in Nashville

Posted at 4:58 PM, Jan 06, 2023
and last updated 2023-01-06 21:06:57-05

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — The attorney for the mother of a Nashville woman killed in a domestic violence shooting in November 2021 has released a 911 call during the shooting taking place.

Kimberly Jones-Mbuyi, the mother of Michaela Carter, is suing Metro Nashville for what happened in the middle of that 911 call.

The lawsuit says earlier in the day, Carter's estranged husband, James Leggett, called and sent text messages to Carter, which the lawsuit says violated a protection order Carter had against Leggett after he beat Carter with a glass liquor bottle earlier that year.

But when Carter called Metro Police and showed officers the text messages, the lawsuit says officers brought her back home and told her they still didn't have enough evidence to arrest her husband, despite a no-contact order that prohibited communication of any kind including emails or other messages.

Legget came back after police left, and Carter called 911.

On the call, you can then hear what police say was Leggett shooting Carter, who later died.

Police eventually arrested Leggett for the shooting, but the lawsuit says police should have known they had enough to arrest him for violating the protection order before he shot Carter.

Jones-Mbuyi's attorney, Daniel Horwitz, sent a copy of the 911 call to all Metro Council members, saying "Because you are responsible for funding and overseeing public safety in this city, I think it's important that you hear — directly — what citizens actually experience during a crisis."

Horwitz's email also cited what he said was "the shocking rudeness of the dispatcher while Ms. Carter was in imminent danger, afraid for her life, and ultimately murdered."

WARNING: the audio of the call includes the moment Carter was shot and ultimately killed. Horwitz says Carter's family specifically wants the entirety of the call — including the shooting — to be released for the public to hear, "to prevent this from happening to anyone else." He also said the family "wants Metro Council to take action to address what went wrong.

You can listen to the full 911 call here.

In response to the lawsuit, today a Metro attorney said:

"MNPD takes its responsibilities seriously, and we dispute Plaintiff’s version of the events as outlined in the complaint. Given the pending litigation, we will respond to Plaintiff’s more specific claims and allegations through the appropriate legal process."

If you or someone you know is experiencing domestic abuse, there is hope and help available. Call the Tennessee Domestic Violence Helpline at 1-800-356-6767.

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