Pursuit Crash In July, 2008 Huntsville (Ala.) police chased a drug suspect across the city and into the U.S. Army’s Redstone Arsenal, leading to a fatal collision with another vehicle. There was delayed telephone communications between the two agencies, which led to improved base gate security, swapping radios between HPD and the Military Police, and other procedure changes at the two comm centers. Read about the aftermath of the incident here. (phones 4:29, then south district radio 12:24, then west district radio 12:11).
Plane Crash 911 Calls In November, 2008 a single-engine plane crashed into a home in Marshfield (Wisc.), killing three people on the plane and generating several 911 calls about the incident. Note the dispatcher’s handling of the first call.
Multiple Murder 911 Calls In October, 2008 off-duty Forest County (Wisc.) sheriff’s deputy arrived at his ex-girlfriend’s house and murdered her and five friends. Tyler Peterson, 20, fled, but was located the next day by police, and killed himself during a shoot-out.
Roadside Murder In Feb. 2009 Amber Cremeens was forced off the road by her bitter ex-boyfriend in Wheatridge (Colo.), and then shot to death. He current boyfriend dialed 911 to report what was happening, before the shooting. Suspect Tyler Martin then drove back to Chicago where he formerly lived, where he encountered police during a car stop. Martin ran to a relative’s apartment building, where he barricaded himself for three hours before committing suicide. Listen to the tape, and then read that Wheatridge police missed intervening in the shooting by seconds.
Murder 911 Call In Feb. 2009 three persons were murdered inside a house in Cushing (Okla., pop. 8,371). The suspect called his friends to say he had shot the victims and set the house on fire. The friends then drove to the house, found the bodies and a young woman dialed 911 to reach a Cushing PD dispacher.
Kidnapping-Murder 911 Call In Feb. 2009 Susana De Jesus was kidnapped and murdered as she left work in Pearland (Tex.) with a co-worker. Two hours later the co-worker called her brother in Canada, who called the Brazoria County sheriff’s comm center to report what his sister had seen. Her car was found within hours via OnStar, but De Jesus has not been located.
Officers shot – In Feb. 2009 two Jeffersonville (Ind.) police officers were shot by a man in a motel room, after an motel employee reported the occupants had drugs. The officers radioed for help, and arriving officers had to coordinate their response to get to the officers while staying safe from the suspects. Both officers survived and the suspects fled and were at large.
Natural gas explosion – On Feb. 19, 2009 several residents of Somerset (Mass.) dialed 911 to report a natural gas smell. About an hour after the first call a house exploded and the female resident was killed.
Cab death – In Feb. 2009 two men shared a cab ride in Kyle (Tex.), and during the 70 mph ride on I-35 Jeffery Weng, a Univ. of Texas student, went out the door of the cab and was killed. Several other motorists dialed 911 to report the incident. Police are trying to find the other passenger and do not know the circumstances of his death.
Intruder shot – In Feb. 2009 a suspect entered the patio door of a home in the middle of the night and confronted the couple inside. Heath Miller armed himself with a .38-cal. revolver and shot the suspect, killing him. Mirelle Miller dialed 911 for help, and at one point a dispatcher called her back for more information.
Officer fatal crash – In Feb. 2009 Wilmington (NC) police officer Richard Matthews crashed his car while responding to join the pursuit of a drug suspect’s car. He was ejected and died of head injuries. Police released the dispatch channel logging tape after a media request. The tape includes the original stop, the call from an officer for an ambulance and the aftermath. (quiet radio segments removed)
Murder-suicide 911 – In Feb. 2009 a Lowell (Mich.) man slashed the neck of his ex-girlfriend, prompting a 911 call from his 20 year-old niece. Jeff Childs then turned the knife on himself and died. The 911 call went to the state police, who mistakenly transferred it to the Kent County sheriff’s comm center instead of Lowell city police. The first arriving officer waited for back-up before approaching the house, leading to a 15-minute response time to the rural home. The family believes a prompter response would have saved both persons.
McNugget emergency – In March 2009 a Fort Pierce (Fla.) woman dialed 911 three times to complain that a McDonalds staffer would not give her a refund on the money she spent for McNuggets. The restaurant was out of McNuggets, and an employee offered Latreasa Goodman a McDouble instead. She refused, and dialed 911 to complain about the lack of a refund.
Purse snatch chase – In March 2009 Forth Worth (Tex.) resident Val Renfro had her purse taken from her, and she jumped in her car and chased down the suspect, all the while talking to a dispatcher on her cellular phone.
Missing child – In Oct. 2008 Nadya Suleman dialed 911 when she discovered one of her young sons was missing from the front yard. At the time, Suleman had six children, but later in 2009 she was to have octuplets, making her a celebrity. During her 911 call to Whittier (S. Calif.) police, she threatened, “Oh God. I’m going to kill myself.” Interestingly, the dispatcher admonished her on making such threats in earshot of her other children. “He doesn’t need to hear that,” the dispatcher told Suleman. During the call, the child returned back home from his walk.
Murder suicide – In Nov. 2007 Alton Beasley shot and killed his two daughters and one of their friends, his wife, and and then killed himself. One of the daughters dialed 911 for help, but 27 seconds into the call she screams and the line goes quiet. What information did the dispatcher obtain during that short period?
Intruder shot – In Jan. 2008 Brian Sessoms was kicked out of the Berkeley County (SC) house where he had been living with friends for two weeks. Intoxicated, he climbed up to a second-story window, re-entered the house and came down the stairs, where he was confronted and shot by the homeowner. Despite CPR, Sessoms died, and the DA ruled it was a self-defense shooting.
Burglary & shooting – In March 2009 a Chattanooga (Tenn.) resident’s car was burglarized, and a male family member caught one of the suspects and held him down for police. As a female resident dialed 911 for help and talked to a dispatcher, two suspects returned and fired a shotgun at the house to “rescue” their friend. It took 10 minutes for officers to arrive at the incident, generating criticism from the 911 caller during the call.
Stabbing In March 2009 a Lake Butler (Fla.) woman was stabbed by ex-boyfriend, and she then dialed 911. Rebecca Ocker said Donald Bazzell Jr. had just left in a vehicle, and gave a description. Within minutes Bazzell drove across the center-line of a highway, struck a van, killing himself and one of two occupants of the van.
Fire victim – In March 2009 Tulsa (Okla.) public safety dispatcher Jeff Pestell fielded a 911 call from a woman trapped by fire in her second-floor apartment bedroom. He stayed on the line and guided firefighters to her location for a successful rescue. The fire was started by a meth lab operation.
Assault/rape victim – In 2007 a woman in Parsippany (NJ) dialed 911 as she was being chased by a man, who later caught her, assaulted and raped her. The handling dispatcher was later fire for improperly handling the call although State Police officials didn’t explain specifics. The firing was revealed when the 911 call was played during the suspect’s trial in March 2009. Read more here.
Small plane crash – In March 2009 a small plane crashed in Gaithersburg (Md.), but the pilot escaped serious injury because it was the only plane–a Cirrus SR-22–to be equipped with an emergency parachute. The plane was destroyed after striking trees, but the pilot walked away and no one on the ground was injured. Several neighbors dialed 911 to report the crash.
Trapped fire victim – In March 2009 a New York woman was trapped by flames and smoke in the second-floor bedroom of her home. Kylesha Monterro made the call, answered by Cheektowaga fire dispatcher Robert Fetzer, who guided her to a window where firefighters took her down by ladder.
Husband handcuffed – In March 2009 a Fairfield (Conn.) woman handcuffed herself to her estranged husband, saying that was the only way she could force him to talk to her. Helen Sun, 37, was arrested by police assault, unlawful restraint and other charges.
Murder-Suicide – In March 2009 an Orlando (Fla.) woman was kidnapped and murdered by her estranged boyfriend, and he then committed suicide next to her in a motel room. It took four hours for police to find the couple after a series of telephone calls from Loyta Sloley’s co-workers and friends, her father, and even calls between an Orlando PD dispatcher and Sloley and the killer. Police are investigating the handling of the calls, particularly the male dispatcher’s procedures and tone of voice. Listen to the collection of calls:
Calls from co-worker and Sloley’s father
Call between a dispatcher and Sloley (Tisha)
Call with co-worker about Sloley
CPR 911 call – In March 2009 Miami (Fla.) 911 dispatcher Renette Vassor fielded a 911 call from a city bus, where a woman had collapsed and then stopped breathing. The bus driver and a passenger then administered CPR to the victim, as instructed by Vassor.
Officer shooting – In March 2009 an Orange City (Fla.) police officer was shot and wounded when he arrived to investigate a suicidal man. Dep. Sharif El-Shami was shot while in his patrol car by Bryan Langford, who had barricaded himself in his girlfriend’s home with a stockpile of weapons, ammunition, a gas mask and bullet-resistant vest. He had already killed his girlfriend and son. His ex-wife dialed 911 to warn police that Langford was suicidal.
Association shootings – On April 3, 2009 a man entered a Binghampton (NY) building used by immigrants for citizenship education and testing, and began shooting. He killed 14 persons and himself. Several persons fled to the basement as Jiverly Wong continued shooting. (This audio is from law enforcement radio transmissions, as recorded by a scannerist.)
Fried rice – In April 2009 a woman dialed 911 in Haltom City (Tex.) to complain that she didn’t receive the “extra shrimp” that she ordered at an A&D Buffalo’s restaurant. An officer dispatched to the incident could not locate the woman.
Murder-suicide – In April 2009 a Santa Clara (N. Calif.) man shot and killed five family members, and wounded his wife, before killing himself. A neighbor came outside to find Abha Appu bleeding and unable to speak outside her apartment. The woman cradled Appu and dialed 911, then talked to a dispatcher for 10 minutes as police and paramedics were enroute.
Burglary on Webcam – In April 2009 a Boynton Beach (Fla.) woman saw burglars inside her home while she was watching her Webcam from work. She dialed 911 and reached the Palm Beach County sheriff’s comm center, who tranferred her to Boynton Beach police. She then described what was happening. Police arrived to arrest four suspects.
CPR save – In April 2009 a Collier County (Fla.) sheriff’s dispatch supervisor Julie Becker gave Diane Lustig CPR instructions to help save her husband Lee. The three later met at the comm center for a reunion.
Trespasser shot/killed – In April 2009 a couple in Botetourt County (Virg.) saw a trespasser on their property, and Jody Hoover dialed 911 to report it. While on the phone, the suspect broke a back sliding glass door and came inside the house, and Hoover’s husband shot the man twice with a shotgun, killing him. The shooting was ruled justifiable. (The tape is 13 minutes and some names/addresses are deleted.)
Bobcat attack – In April 2009 a mother and her two teen daughters were in a rural park in Prescott (Ariz.) when they were attacked by a bobcat. Daughter Talisa Montonati dialed 911 for help, and officers and game wardens eventually tracked down the bobcat and killed it.
Baby delivery – In April 2009 a man dialed 911 in Montcalm County (Mich.) to say he “thought” his wife was having a baby. Ryan Emmons said he and his wife didn’t realize she was pregnant. Dispatcher Angie Adams had been out of 6 months of training for just two days, and was working the night shift when the called arrived.
Officer struck by car – In April 2009 Lockland (Ohio) officer Brandon Gehring was struck by a police car as he was setting out spike strips on I-75, ahead of an armed robbery suspect’s fleeing vehicle. The suspect robbed a Walgreens store at 5:42 a.m., and was captured after the accident.
Mayor calls 911 – In April 2009 former Capitola (N. Calif.) mayor Kirby Nicol dialed 911 and asked the dispatcher to send an officer to give a ride to one of his intoxicated friends. The call was later criticized by the police officers’ association as a waste of manpower, especially since the department was forcing officers to take days-off without pay to help meet the city’s budget. What would you do, and who would you notify.
Religious retreat shootings – In April 2009 John Chong shot two residents of the Kkottongnae Retreat Center outside Temecula (S. Calif.), and seriously beat two other residents. Victims dialed 911 and spoke Korean, and Riverside County sheriff’s dispatchers used the Language Line service to obtain critical information about the location and the suspect.
Domestic shooting – In April 2009 Appleton (Wisc.) firefighter Scott Schmidt went to his estranged wife’s home, and shortly after his mother-in-law arrived. After an argument, Schmidt shot his wife and then mother-in-law, the latter then dialed 911 (“…shots have been fired.”). Schmidt shot his wife several more times, killing her, but Barbara Wing survived. Schmidt surrended to an officer who arrived within moments. The call was handled by dispatcher Tami Schurer, a 25-year veteran of the communications center.
Domestic shooting – In April 2009 a woman dialed 911 in Hoffman Estates (Ill.) to say that her 18 year-old friend had been stabbed by her boyfriend. D’Andre Howard then came on the line to say that Laura Engelhardt was bleeding badly, and that Engelhardt’s father had also been stabbed. Howard had tied up several members of his girlfriend’s family, and killed Laura, her father and grandmother. He was arrested by arriving police.
Tornado strike – In April 2009 a tornado struck Murfreesbobo (Tenn.), destroying many buildings. The touch-downs generated hundreds of 911 calls: from noon to midnight the MPD center handled 487 calls, 10 times the normal traffic.
Mother’s illness – In March 2009 a 7 year-old boy’s mother collapsed from a diabetic problem and he dialed 911 for help. Brayden Burroughs called from his Ada County (Idaho) home and reached a sheriff’s dispatcher Ashlie Engle.
Reckless driver – In March 2009 a woman who was involved in a bar dispute got into her car in Rochester (NY), pressed on the accelerator and ran over several persons. One person died and four were injured, and Sandra Arena was arrested for murder. A neighbor dialed 911 for help, and was on the phone for almost 10 minutes with the dispatcher, giving updates, counting victims, etc.
Store murder – In July 2008 a man entered the Ames (Iowa) convenience store where his girlfriend was working, shot and killed her. Tony Hayes then left the store on foot, and then got onto a bike and fled. A female patron just getting out of her car heard the gunfire and saw Hayes leave, and dialed 911 to report hearing the gunfire. It wasn’t until several minutes into the call that the caller went inside the store and discovered Lacrissa Davis lying behind the counter dead.
Police shooting – In Nov. 2007 Denise Owens dialed 911 for help in dealing with her 18 year-old son, who could be heard in the background yelling that he had a gun. Police arrived and talked to Khiel Coppin from a distance, since he claimed to have a knife. Coppin then climbed out a window, confronted several officers as he held a black object, and was then shot 8 times by officers who fired 20 times. The black object turned out to be a hairbrush. Police said the youth intended “suicide,” but some family members said the police overreacted.