Police have released the Newtown 911 calls, recorded on December 14, 2012 – almost one year ago today. The tragic shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut claimed the lives of 20 children and six teachers, making it one of the deadliest mass shootings in U.S. history.
The Associated Press on Wednesday said that “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.”
The seven calls total nearly a half-hour of audio. The recordings were released today after The Associated Press filed legal motions to make the tapes public. The recordings capture the moments when shooter Adam Lanza began firing; gunshots can be heard in some of the calls.
Newtown officials initially attempted to block the release of the tapes, but a judge ordered that the town must comply with the state’s Freedom of Information Commission and release the audio.
On Tuesday, Newtown School Superintendent John Reed personally sent out emails to parents to advise them of the fact the recordings would be released and to forewarn them that the audio may serve as an “emotional trigger.”
On the tapes, dispatchers can be heard speaking calmly to a janitor, a teacher and others who called 911.
Fox2 Now out of St.Louis was one of the first sites to upload links to the audio. Five of the seven released tapes can be heard here.
“I caught a glimpse of somebody. They're running down the hallway. Oh, they're still running and still shooting. Sandy Hook school, please,” a woman said in a breathless voice as she realized the shooter was in the building.
One of the calls came from Sandy Hook custodian Rick Thorne. "There's still shooting going on, please!" the custodian pleaded as shots are heard in the background. "Still, it's still going on!"
The Associated press said that while they understand the volatility the calls could have, they also felt the need to push for them to be released.
"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."