Shooting & pursuit – In April 2010 a man came to a former girlfriend’s house in Warren County (NY), tried to enter and then began shooting at the house. An occupant dialed 911 for help, and then suspect Patrick Penders fled in his car. He was soon spotted by sheriff’s deputies and state police, chased until he crashed, and then fatally shot when he confronted officers. Listen to the radio traffic (quiet periods removed):
Drowning – In Sept. 2010 a car went off the road in rural Charleston County (SC) at 5:30 a.m., and two occupants were swept away and drowned. One occupant escaped and ran to a nearby house, where the occupant dialed 911 for help. Also listen to two other 911 calls:
Gas main rupture – In Sept. 2010 a 24-inch, high-pressure gas transmission line failed under a San Bruno (N. Calif.) neighborhood, incinerating 38 houses and killing at least 7 people. Because of the violent rupture of the pipeline, the tremendously loud noise of escaping gas and the resulting fire, callers initially believed the event was a plane crash. The fireball was visible for miles, including by fire units on the road for other reasons. (This 1-hour audio is from a local scannerist, and includes various channels besides San Bruno and surrounding San Mateo County.)
Hostage-murder – In July 2007 two suspects invaded the Cheshire (Conn.) home of a family and held them hostage. They forced the wife to withdraw $15,000 from her bank, but when she returned they killed her and two children, while her husband escaped. While in the bank, Jennifer Hawke-Petit alerted the teller, telling her to call 911. The bank manager did call 911 to explain what happened. Also listen to a neighbor’s call reporting the husband’s escape:
Acid attack – In Sept. 2010 a Mesa (Ariz.) woman was splashed with a caustic chemical by a stranger, and the victim’s young daughter dialed 911 for help. Derri Velarde had just arrived home from work and was confronted by another female, who threw the liquid at her.
Hospital shooting – In Sept. 2010 a man meeting with a doctor about his ill wife pulled a handgun, shot the doctor and his wife, and then barricaded himself before shooting himself. The doctor survived, but Paul Pardus’ mother did not.
Shooting at officer – In Sept. 2010 a Woodlawn (Ohio) officer saw three men at an intersection in adjacent Lincoln Heights with rifles, and they began shooting at him. Off. Timothy Barrett drove to safety and radioed for help.
Bear attack – In Sept. 2010 a man walking his dog at his vacation home in Lake Wenatchee (Wash.) was attacked by a bear. His wife saw the attack and dialed 911. An EMS unit arrived about 15 minutes later to treat the man, who suffered serious, but non-life threatening injuries.
Murder-suicide – In Sept. 2010 a woman in Seattle (Wash.) killed a man, two children and herself with a gun. Responding Seattle police were careful about their arrival as dispatchers provided on-going updates from witnesses.
Shootings – In Oct. 2010 a Gainesville (Fla.) man drove around his neighborhood and shot five people, then killed his father and himself. Police don’t know why Clifford Miller Jr. wounded the five people who survived. The several-block area of the shooting complicated the dispatching process and response.
Fire rescue – In Oct. 2010 a Cleveland (Ohio) woman and two children were trapped in their home by a fire. During a 15-minute 911 call the woman pleaded for help. The incident raised questions of sufficient comm center staffing.
University shooting – In Oct. 2010 a University of Texas (Austin) student arrived on campus with an AK-47 semi-auto rifle and dressed in a mask. He fired several shots but didn’t point the weapon at anyone. When police arrived he fled to the library and killed himself. Also listen to this collection of other calls.
Plane crash – In Oct. 2010 a single-engine plane crashed on take-off from the Naperville (Ill.) airport, and various witnesses called 911 to report it.
Kidnapping call – In Oct. 2010 the father of a 10 year-old girl dialed 911 in Hickory (NC) to report his daughter had been kidnapped, and that he found a ransom note. Adam Baker said an arson fire set by the kidnappers likely distracted him. However, within days police were skeptical of Baker and his wife’s story.
Murder – In Aug. 2010 a Shreveport man shot and killed his stepson as the victim’s mother was on the line with a 911 dispatcher. Harold Free said he stepson was attacking him and that he shot in self-defense, but he was charged with the second-degree murder of Terry Johniken.
Child murders – In Oct. 2010 a Layton (Utah) man dialed 911 after finding his wife behaving erractically, and his two children cold. Kenneth Warhola believed his wife suffered psychiatric problems and killed their 7 and 8 year-old daughters. Police arrived and arrestd Sun Cha Warhola for murder, alleging she strangled the children.
Officer-involved shooting – In Oct. 2010 a Boone (Iowa) grocery store meat-cutter began acting erratically, and co-workers dialed 911 when he began waving a knife. An arriving officer unsuccessfully used a Taser, and then fatally shot the man when he refused to put down the knife. A dispatcher told one caller to find the man within the store.
Woman choking – In Sept. 2010 a Mashpee (Mass.) woman choked on a marshmellow, and her fiancée Brent McFarland dialed 911 for help. A Barnstable County dispatcher trained in EMD by APCO mentioned the Heimlich maneuver, but didn’t explain how to perform it. There were several 2-minute periods of silence and unresponsiveness from the dispatcher. The woman died at the hospital after a lengthy response complicated by address confusion.
911 call from closet – In Nov. 2010 a Puyallup (Wash.) woman dialed 911 from a closet after hearing someone break into her home mid-morning. Puyallup PD dispatcher Dorene Strange answered the call and expertly asked questions and reassured the caller.
Robbery-murder – In Nov. 2010 two men entered a Fayetteville (NC) pawn shop to rob it, and fatally shot a 19 year-old clerk. Other employees dialed 911, along with a woman who witnessed the suspects leave the shop.
Carbon monoxide – In Nov. 2010 a Flat Rock (NC) family was overcome by carbon monoxide from a base generator, and a young girl dialed 911 at 5 a.m. to say her father was semi-conscious. Henderson County 911 dispatcher Ondrea Baker took the call, which eventually disconnected. Baker called back and talked to the girl, who said everything was OK. After ending the call, Baker decided to dispatch a deputy to investigate, and the deputy found the family semi-conscious. They all recovered.
Home alone – In Nov. 2010 a 4 year-old boy dialed 911 from his Deltona (Fla.) home to say he was trying to find his mother, who had left him by himself. A Volusia County dispatcher questioned the boy and deputies responded to arrest the mother, who showed up later.
Pursuit 911 – In Nov. 2010 a 19 year-old man failed to pull over for Orange County sheriff’s deputies, and he dialed 911 to curse and yell at the dispatcher. Eventually deputies set out stop-sticks and the chase ended.
Murder-suicide – In Nov. 2010 a Stone Island (Fla.) man shot his estranged wife and her 71 year-old father, then killed himself. Before the suicide Kelly Roehrick called a friend to come get his 11 year-old daughter, who had run from the house to a neighbor. Two 911 calls were made, one by a neighbor walking a dog past the house, and a long call from the friend. Volusia County sheriff’s deputies arrived within 10 minutes to find three persons dead.
Car into pond – In Dec. 2010 an Indianapolis (Ind.) woman skidded her car on ice, and it went into a retention pond off the highway. Elizabeth Perez, 23, dialed 911 for help , and two arriving officers jumped into the cold water to rescue her.
Bank robbery – In Dec. 2010 a man just-released from federal prison walked into a Volusia County (Fla.) bank, said he had a bomb and Taser, and robbed it. An alert teller dialed 911 and police met the suspect as he exited the bank.
Tongue bitten off – In Dec. 2010 a Sheboygan (Wisc.) woman bit off a part of her husband’s tongue, and he dialed 911 and tried to communicate with the dispatcher.
School board shooting – In Dec. 2010 a man entered a Panama City (Fla.) school board meeting, brandished a gun and shot at a board member. A school district security officer then shot and wounded the man, who then shot himself. A woman fled the room when the man entered, and dialed 911 as she watched the room via video, not realizing it was a delayed feed on the Internet.
Parents stabbed – In Dec. 2010 a Yale couple were seriously stabbed in their home, and the husband later died. The wife dialed 911, and shortly after her 18 year-old daughter called 911 from the basement, saying she was too scared to go upstairs to investigate her parents’ screaming. Police later arrested Tia Skinner, her boyfriend and another male for the stabbings and murder.