911 Tapes From Sikh Temple Shooting Released
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(CBS) — Authorities have released recordings of 911 calls from the shooting massacre at a Sikh house of worship near Milwaukee earlier this month.
CBS 2’s Roseanne Tellez reports, in several of the calls, gunshots can be heard, as can the bravery of people trapped in the Sikh Temple of Wisconsin in Oak Creek, calmly telling police what’s going on inside the gurdwara.
On Aug. 5, a white supremacist gunman entered the gurdwara in Oak Creek, Wisc., and opened fire, killing six worshippers and wounding three others, including a responding police officer. The gunman later took his own life.
Even in the chaos of the shooting, every person who called 911 had the wherewithal to first give the address of the temple, even as the gunman was still emptying his 9mm semiautomatic handgun.
“Yes, I’m calling from 7512 South Howell Avenue,” one man told a 911 operator as gunshots were heard in the background.
“There is shooting, There’s a shooting in this …” the man continued, his voice trailing off.
The operator asked “Did anyone get hit?”
As the man frantically repeated “there is shooting,” the operator told him “I understand that, did anybody get hit? Hello?”
At that point, several more shots were heard in the background before the call was cut off.
In another call, after giving the address for the temple a woman frantically told police “A shooting; there’s a shooting. Oh my God!”
As 40-year-old Wade Michael Page continued to fire on the victims, women hiding in the temple pantry made their pleas in whispers to avoid detection.
After repeatedly trying to provide the address in a hushed voice, the woman told police “The temple.” By that point, there had already been a number of other 911 calls from the temple.
“Is this regarding a shooting?” the operator asked.
“Yes! Hurry up,” the woman pleaded in whispers.
“Okay, we’ve got help on the way, okay? Okay? Ma’am?” the operator asked, before the call was disconnected.
In the midst of a flood of calls, even a 911 operator could be heard expressing her horror.
“Oh My God,” an operator exclaimed after getting a call from the temple, but hearing no response from the caller
After dozens of calls the drama, spilled out into the neighborhood, as neighbors called 911 when victims ran out of the temple and into the surrounding area, some of them seeking help for gunshot wounds.
“Look there’s a shooting out on us,” one caller said.
“Police are on the scene,” the operator said.
“I need an ambulance. I’m at 328 East Madison. A guy came to my house. He’s laying in my front yard, bleeding,” the caller said.
The Milwaukee County Sheriff’s office released the tapes Wednesday afternoon, and it’s astonishing to hear the presence of mind of the callers, who make sure police know where they are, and where to send help.
The calls show those who called 911 were among many heroes of that day.