911 Dispatchers Remember The Calls During Courthouse Shooting
During the Smith County courthouse shooting, more than 100 East Texans called 911 for help.
Dispatch: "911, do you have an emergency for police, fire, or ambulance?"
Dispatch: "What happened, ma'am?"
Caller: "Fire shots at the courthouse on North Spring Street."
Dispatch: "Do you see anything?"
Caller: "Yes. (scream in background) I can't hear you."
Dispatch: "Did you see anything?"
Caller: "There's policemen coming out the back door. I think one might have been hit. He's on the ground."
Dispatch: "Somebody's on the ground?"
Caller: "Several people down."
This is one of the phone calls dispatchers received the day of the courthouse shooting. "It was hard to believe what was happening until we got the second call, even though we were putting it out. It was incredible to believe that somebody would do that," says Linda McDonald, 911 Dispatch Supervisor, City of Tyler.
Once the calls started flooding in, dispatchers needed a description of the shooter. "We were looking for was the suspect information. Where he was exactly and also how many victims how many people he hit," says Linda.
Dispatch: "What kind of vehicle is he in?"
Caller: "He's in a maroon truck and he's about to shoot somebody."
Dispatch: "Stay on the phone with me. Let me talk to him."
Caller: "Maroon truck, and he's getting in the truck now, backing out. He's killing somebody right now."
City of Tyler 911 dispatcher Regina Roberson was working the radio traffic that day. "It helps the officers locate that person immediately. They were able to verify that that was the vehicle and which way he was going," says Regina Roberson, 911 Dispatcher, City of Tyler.
Regina and Linda each have a memory they will never forget.
"Where you could actually hear the gun fire, the panic and then the screaming of the person . Her voice sticks with me," says Linda.
"When the officer that was on the scene immediately keyed up to tell us what was going on. And I could hear the gun shots in the background, that's something I don't want to hear again," says Regina.
It was the work of the dispatchers that day that helped police identify and stop David Arroyo Senior, the man who had caused panic and fear on the square.
David Arroyo, Junior was shot in the leg by his father the day of the shooting, now walks with a cane. Of the officers injured, Sheriff's Lieutenant Marlin Suell as well as Tyler Police Detective Clay Parrot, have both returned to work. Smith County Deputy Sherman Dollison underwent several surgeries and says he's almost ready to go back to work.