Newtown 911 Dispatcher Urged Callers To Take Cover

, The Connecticut Law Tribune

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Recordings of 911 calls from the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting that were released Wednesday show town dispatchers urged panicked callers to take cover, mobilized help and asked about the welfare of the children as gunshots could be heard at times in the background.

One caller told police in a trembling, breathless voice that a gunman was shooting inside the building.

"I caught a glimpse of somebody. They're running down the hallway. Oh, they're still running and still shooting. Sandy Hook school, please," the woman said.

In the minutes that followed, staff members inside the school pleaded for help as Newtown police juggled the barrage of calls.

The calls were posted on the town's website under a court order after a lengthy effort by The Associated Press to have them released for review.

Another call came from a custodian, Rick Thorne, who said that a window at the front of the school was shattered and that he kept hearing shooting. While on the line with Thorne, the dispatcher told somebody off the call: "Get everyone you can going down there."

Thorne remained on the phone for several minutes.

"There's still shooting going on, please!" the custodian pleaded to Newtown's 911 dispatcher, as six or seven shots could be heard booming in the background. "Still, it's still going on!"

The gunman, 20-year-old Adam Lanza, shot his way into the school the morning of Dec. 14 and killed 20 children and six educators with a semi-automatic rifle. He also killed his mother in their Newtown home before driving to the school, and he committed suicide as police arrived at the scene.

Seven recordings of landline calls from inside the school to Newtown police were posted. Calls that were routed to state police are the subject of a separate, pending freedom of information request by the AP.

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