KKTV11 News – Video, 911 Audio and Article
Police released two 911 calls Wednesday in connection to a deadly shooting spree near downtown Colorado Springs on October 31.
Colorado Springs Police released the two 911 tapes after a comment made by a dispatcher garnered national attention. A woman called to report a man walking around her neighborhood holding a gun.
She told KKTV and our partners at the Gazette that she was angry with the way the dispatcher handled her first call because the dispatcher cited an open carry law.
Naomi Bettis said when she first called 911 from Prospect Street to report a man carrying a gun and two cans of gasoline, the dispatcher was quick to tell her that Colorado is an open carry state.
Police released the call Wednesday. In it, the dispatcher does cite the open carry law, but it was more than two minutes into the call while the dispatcher was still taking down all of the information.
The dispatcher asked the caller questions while entering the call in, first as a priority three, then as a priority two call. Priority two calls are classified as critical, and officers were being sent quickly.
The dispatcher does not dismiss the caller and in fact, tells her she did the right thing in calling.
Caller: “It may be the guy that lives upstairs because he ran right up there but he still shouldn’t be holding that gun,”
Dispatcher: “Well it is an open carry state so he can have a weapon with him or walking around with it, but of course, having those gas cans it does seem pretty suspicious, so we’re going to keep the call going for that.”
Colorado Springs Police say the dispatcher handled the call according to the department’s policy and national protocols.
The 911 tapes also give us a better idea of just how quickly the tragedy unfolded. From the time the first witness called 911, to the time the gunman was in a shootout with police, all happened within about 15 minutes.
The first call came in at 8:45 a.m. Saturday from Bettis. She was reporting a man in her neighborhood on Prospect St. carrying a gun.
Caller: “There was a guy walking around with like two cans of gasoline or something, two small cans, and a big, like a rifle.”
The dispatcher soon put the call in as a priority two, meaning it was critical and police needed to get there quickly. That call lasted more than six minutes. Then, five minutes later, at 8:56 the woman called 911 again to say the suspect had just shot someone on a bike.
Caller: “The guy came back out and he fired a gun at somebody and he’s laying on the street dead. Oh my God.”
The gunman walked down the street and shot and killed two more victims at a sober living facility.
Caller: “Oh my God. Oh I think he’s still shooting. I heard some more shots fired from that gun that he’s got. Oh my God, he’s got a crazed look on his face, too.”
Dispatcher: “I’ve got a cop on the way okay.”
The first victim, Andrew Myers, was across the street from Naomi.
Caller: “I’m too afraid to go out there. That poor guy laying there. Oh my God.”
Dispatcher: “Stay with me, okay You’re doing great.”
About a minute later, she heard more gunfire.
Caller: “Oh, I just heard another gun fi, fire. Oh my God. I think the police probably found him. I see police lights going west on Platte. Yeah, they need to call an ambulance or something right away.”
These are just two of the 911 calls made that day.
You can listen to the 911 calls by clicking the link attached to this article.
The full news
release from police appears below:
The Colorado Springs Police Department would like to acknowledge the victims in the October 31, 2015 shooting, Andrew Myers, Christina Baccus-Gallela, and Jennifer Vasquez, and their families, after last weekend’s tragic events. Our condolences, thoughts, and prayers are with you and our community.
The four Colorado Springs Police Department Officers who fired shots on Saturday are:
• Patrol Training Officer R. Scott Hallas who was hired on August 1, 2001 and his partner Officer Charles (Chip) Surratt who was hired on March 16, 2015. Officer Surratt was riding with Officer Hallas as part of his field training.
• Patrol Training Officer Edward Crofoot who was hired on January 30, 2008 and his partner Officer Matthew Anderson who was hired on March 16, 2015. Officer Anderson was riding with Officer Crofoot as part of his field training.
The Police Department would like to acknowledge that these events have had a profound effect on the greater Colorado Springs community. Anyone in need of services, including crisis counseling, can contact Aspen Pointe 24-hours per day on its crisis line at 844-493-8255, a local crisis counseling organization and the Pikes Peak United Way is available to assist at 211.
The initial call did result in a call for service at a Priority 2 level, which is typical for a situation classified as critical “with potentially dangerous circumstance but no apparent imminent life threat.” Before an officer could be dispatched to the initial call, the reporting party called back to report shots fired, at which time, all available officers citywide were dispatched.
Additionally, this release is designed to provide some clarification regarding the original call for service received by the Colorado Springs Emergency Communications Center. The first call for service was a 911 call at 8:45:40 AM on October 31, 2015 for the 200 block of North Prospect Street. This call reported a suspicious male walking into a building carrying gasoline cans and a rifle.
The emergency response technician (ERT) or 911 call-taker created a call for service of a suspicious person. The call for service type started as a priority 3. After speaking with the reporting party for one minute, the ERT increased this to a priority 2 and changed it to a possible burglary in progress call. The change in call type occurred at 8:46 AM. The ERT stayed on the phone with the caller for over two minutes. The ERT acknowledged that Colorado is an open carry state but stated we (the police department) would keep the call going because the behavior of the person with the gas cans seemed suspicious.
When the call for service was received, it was immediately routed to a public safety dispatcher (PSD). This call was in the Gold Hill Patrol Division. All of the officers in the division were engaged on other calls for service when this call was initiated. At 8:47 AM, an officer from the Gold Hill Division cleared the call for service which he was attending. The PSD dispatched this officer to an in-progress disturbance occurring at a senior residential facility. The call for service on North Prospect Street was the same priority level as the disturbance; however, the disturbance at the senior center represented a threat to human life, while the Prospect call ( a possible burglary in-progress) was at the time considered a threat to property.
At 8:55:47 AM the initial reporting party called 911 a second time and relayed that the man had now shot a victim, a male on a bicycle. At 8:56 AM the PSD request any available officers to clear for possible shots fired. At 8:57 AM the PSD requested available units for a reported shooting and officers were immediately dispatched from other patrol divisions. During the second call with the reporting party, an ambulance was also immediately dispatched.
The investigation has revealed that the suspect walked northbound on Prospect Street and then westbound on Platte Avenue. In front of a home in the 500 block of East Platte Avenue, the suspect shot two more victims.
While on the telephone with the ERT the reporting party stated she heard more shots fired at 8:58 AM. At 9:00 AM the reporting party stated she heard another shot. During the call the reporting party indicated she saw the lights from responding police vehicles.
At 9:00:41 AM the suspect was on Platte Avenue approaching the Taco Bell at Platte Avenue and Wahsatch Street.
The two initial calls to 911 are available at Coloradosprings.gov/cases and on the Colorado Springs City website linked under the police department and cases of interest.
An explanation of the call priorities and a bulletin from the Colorado Springs Police Department Communications Center on “Open Carry” are also posted online and included as an attachment to this release.
Upon review of the 911 audio from the initial call for service the ERT responded in accordance with both the Colorado Springs Police Department policy and national protocols.
Colorado Springs Police Department Chief Peter Carey commends the actions of the Emergency Communications Center employees, the responding police, fire, and EMS personnel, “They disregarded their own safety in order to safe guard the community as great personal risk”.