Recordings of police communications help paint the picture of an active crime scene and mass casualties, but it was the actions of a rookie dispatcher that helped organize officers in their hunt for a gunman who opened fire on a college campus.
The police response started with one phone call, the caller reporting shots fired. Officers refer to that person as the reporting party or "RP." "RP is advising shots are coming from inside the building. People are running out screaming. Again, 7850 Edgewater," a dispatcher broadcasted.
Patrol cars begin speeding towards Edgewater, the officers inside unsure of what to expect. Then, an officer who had been flagged down gets on the radio and describes a victim lying outside the university. "He's out here in the parking lot. 7900. It likes like he's got a gunshot to the head. Non-responsive," an officer said.
Now, arriving officers had to anticipate the worst. A supervisor put out an order. "1075. Let's try to establish if there's an active shooter in that area as well," he said. What arriving officers found was chaos, screaming people, more victims, a total of 10 with gunshot wounds. Seven of them would die. And, in all the confusion, police did not know where the shooter was. "Let's set up a perimeter on that for right now. Let's try to figure out what the heck's going on," an officer said.
While police fanned out and surrounded the building, victims provided the description of the shooter. "The shooter is going to be a male Korean, about 40-years-old, 5'5", heavy build, he's wearing a blue jacket and a baseball cap," one caller said.
They soon found many more victims and learned that the shooter had left the scene. It took just three minutes for the first units to arrive and three hours before they were able to call "all clear."