Photos of Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre victims sits at a small memorial near the school on January 14, 2013 in Newtown, Connecticut. Credit: Getty Images
Nearly one year after 20-year-old Adam Lanza stormed Sandy Hook school and shot dead 20 children and six adults, town officials in Newtown, Conn. released recordings of the day's 911 calls on Newtown's website on Wednesday afternoon. The recordings depict calm dispatchers as frantic, terrified witnesses dialed in.
"I think there's somebody shooting in here ... Somebody's got a gun," said one woman, breathlessly.
Head custodian Rick Thorne called 911, saying, "The front glass is all shot out ... I keep hearing shooting, I keep hearing popping." A dispatcher told Throne to take cover and can be overheard telling the sergeant to "get everyone you can going down there." Thorne urged them to hurry, saying "it's still going on."
A female teacher called the line, calmly explaining that she and her students were locked into their classroom. She told the dispatcher the door was not locked yet but she would try to lock it as soon as possible.
Another teacher called to report that she had been shot in the foot and was still in her classroom with her students.
Reuters reports that town officials initially tried to prevent release of the recordings, citing more anguish for victims' families. Officials were forced to release seven calls after the Associated Press pressured the state Freedom of Information Commission to order officials to post the recordings.
"We all understand why some people have strong feelings about the release of these tapes. This was a horrible crime," said Kathleen Carroll, AP executive editor and senior vice president. "It's important to remember, though, that 911 tapes, like other police documents, are public records. Reviewing them is a part of normal newsgathering in a responsible news organization."
The calls were posted on the Connecticut Post website.