Image: Newtown 911 Recordings: Dispatcher Urged Callers to Take Cover
(AP)

Newtown 911 Recordings: Dispatcher Urged Callers to Take Cover

Wednesday, 04 Dec 2013 01:48 PM

 

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A teacher calmly explains she has been shot in the foot. Another woman, sounding anguished, pleads for help. A custodian relays information from officers at the scene to a police operator.

 

There is also the booming echo of gunshots.

Officials in Newtown, Connecticut, on Wednesday released audio recordings of emergency 911 phone calls from the Connecticut school shooting that killed 20 children and six educators almost a year ago, revealing raw emotion in the voice of the callers.

Story continues below audio.

 



More audio clips below.

The audio files may be the final pieces of evidence released about the tragedy that rocked the United States on Dec. 14, 2012, when gunman Adam Lanza, 20, shot dead his mother at home and then went to Sandy Hook Elementary school, where he massacred 26 people before killing himself.

"They're still running, they're still shooting," pleaded one woman, sounding increasingly distraught over the course of the 24-second call. In the final seconds, she grows more insistent, pleading with the 911 operator for help.

"Sandy Hook school, please!" she said.

With a volley of several gunshots audible in the background, she moans.

Town officials initially tried to prevent the release of the recordings. The state Freedom of Information Commission ordered calls placed from inside the elementary school to be aired.

Late last month, a judge ruled the town must comply with the commission's order, and Newtown officials have since dropped their appeal. First Selectman Patricia Llodra recently reversed her long-standing position, saying the tapes should be released in full in order to prevent partial leaks.

Seven files were released, two of which were identical.

On one, a woman who described herself as a teacher said she was shot in the foot. The 911 operator instructed her to apply pressure to the wound.

"There's children in this room," the teacher said, sighing heavily.

"Are you OK right now?" the 911 operator asks?

"For now, hopefully," the teacher said.

Another caller, custodian Rick Thorne, appeared to play an important role helping police piece together events early on.

Sounding composed, he told police the gunfire had stopped. Moments later the silence is broken by more gunshots.

"There's still shooting going on, please," Thorne said, sounding more urgent.

On another call, Thorne is heard identifying himself as a custodian to officers who had just arrived at the scene. He then replays information between those officers and the operator, repeating their questions and answers to each other.

"Victims in the buildings," Thorne said.

"How many" he asked, relaying the question the operator.

"Two down," he responded, repeating the response from the officer.

On Tuesday, Newtown School Superintendent John Reed had emailed parents to alert them to the recordings' release and warning them they could serve as an "emotional trigger."

Last week, State's Attorney Stephen Sedensky released a report on the Newtown massacre that concluded Lanza had acted alone, and that his motivation for the attack "may never be answered."

The town has intended for the 911 recordings to be the final release of evidence from the case. Other phone calls and crime scene photographs exist but have been sealed by state officials

Otherwise, once the Dec. 14 anniversary has passed, the town may finally get a reprieve from the exhaustive media coverage of the past year.

"Vulture media, you got your tapes," read a hand-painted sign on a telephone pole in Newtown on Wednesday. "Please leave."













© Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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