Dispatchers praised for work during Walmart shooting; ‘They humble me and make me proud’

Dispatchers praised for work during Walmart shooting; ‘They humble me and make me proud’
Published: Jan. 20, 2023 at 12:57 PM CST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

EVANSVILLE, Ind. (WFIE) - Evansville Vanderburgh Central Dispatch played an important part in the response to the shooting Thursday night at the westside Walmart.

Well over a dozen 911 calls came in during the chaos.

[Related: EPD giving update on Walmart shooting, showing body camera footage]

[Related: EPD releases identity of Walmart shooting suspect]

[Related: Walmart shooting suspect charged with punching several people at same store in May]

[Related: Mother of Walmart shooting victim gives update on her condition]

The dispatch director shared thoughts Friday on their social media:

“To the employees of Walmart West and the customers that were present during the active shooter please know our thoughts and prayers are with you. I don’t think there are words that will ease your stress, anxiety or pain over this situation. We are sorry that this happened to you. To the deputies, firefighters, officers and EMS personnel that responded we thank you for being there to capture the suspect and to care for the victims. Last but most definitely not least, I personally want to recognize the dispatchers that were working when this happened. We have a good team of employees at Evansville Vanderburgh Central Dispatch but it’s times like these that they truly shine. I know how good they are on a daily basis but these tragic events really show what a good team we have here. It is truly a sight to behold watching them work. They humble me and they make me proud! My thanks to everyone for their work on January 19th and again our thoughts and prayers are with employees and customers that were on scene.”

Many of the calls came from frightened employees and customers, which can take an emotional toll on the dispatchers working to keep the callers calm.

Here several of the calls right here:

Several frightening 911 calls came in during Walmart shooting

When employees were lined up in the break room, and shots rang out at a Walmart Thursday night, panic ensued.

Here’s are snippets from separate 911 calls placed:

“He was in the break room taking shots at people.”

“I’m in the store, I’m in the store. Are you hiding? Yes.”

“We have a person bleeding out. We have a person bleeding out. She’s shot in the face.”

“Okay, we’ve got to be quiet. We’re hiding in our office. So he’s in the front? Yes, he was in the front, he’s walking around with a gun.”

“It’s a large, black male. Ron Mosely, his name is Ron Mosely.”

“He shot someone in the head? Yes. The girl’s shot in the head, I’m pretty sure she got shot in the head. Okay, okay. We’ve got them on the way okay?”

“Oh my God, he knows where we are. Okay, so you’re hiding in the back office? Yeah we’re in the back office. He’s right at the door.”

On the other side of those calls were the men and women with dispatch.

“The girl that handled the first call was the most affected,” says James.

Interim Director of Evansville/Vanderburgh County Dispatch Carrie James says an active shooter is worst case scenario, but that her dispatchers handled it like professionals.

“She managed to keep her cool,” says James, “as did the others that worked.”

James also noted how helpful the employees and other callers were, during what she says is the worst situation of somebody’s life.

“So calm, knew exactly what she needed to give us. It was an excellent call,” says James.

When the stakes were the highest, they responded.

These are two snippets from dispatchers talking callers through the situation:

“Okay, you did so good. This has to be so scary, we’re getting all the help out there.”

“Okay you guys are doing great. You’re doing great. We’re getting them out there.”

“They were on it. There was no stopping them,” explains James.

As employees scrambled to get away from the shooter and shoppers scrambled to get out of the building, dispatchers were getting every available unit to the scene.

As the calls slowed down, the very human emotions rolled in.

“The girl that took the first call was upset,” says James, “she ended up started crying and that sort of thing.”

Ever the professionals, the training kicked in.

“She had managed to get herself together and go on with her night, and managed to have several other calls that were high priority, and do her job to the best of her ability,” says James.

As night turned into morning, James was able to debrief with her team, and hand out some much-deserved hugs.

“I know I sound like a broken record, but I can’t say enough how proud I am of these people,” says James.