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5n5newtownkids Police lead students from Sandy Hook in Newtown, Conn., on Dec. 14, 2012. Recordings of 911 calls reveal the raw emotion of those trapped in the school.
Police lead students from Sandy Hook in Newtown, Conn., on Dec. 14, 2012. Recordings of 911 calls reveal the raw emotion of those trapped in the school.
Published: Thursday, 12/5/2013 - Updated: 2 years ago

911 calls retrace unthinkable in Newtown

Tapes released over objections


DANBURY, Conn. — A teacher calmly explains she has been shot in the foot. Another woman, sounding anguished, pleads for help. A custodian relays information from officers at the scene to a police operator.

There is also the booming echo of gunshots.

Officials in Newtown, Conn., on Wednesday released audio recordings of emergency 911 phone calls from the school shooting that killed 20 children and six educators almost a year ago, revealing raw emotion in the voice of the callers.

AUDIO: Listen to 911 calls [Content may be disturbing to some.]

Lanza Lanza
AP Enlarge

The audio files may be the final pieces of evidence released about the tragedy that rocked the nation on Dec. 14, 2012, when gunman Adam Lanza, 20, fatally shot his mother at home, then went to Sandy Hook Elementary school, where he killed 26 people before killing himself.

“They’re still running, they’re still shooting,” said one woman, growing more distraught during the 24-second call. In the final seconds, she grows more insistent, pleading with the 911 operator for help.

“Sandy Hook school, please!” she said.

With a volley of several gunshots audible in the background, she moans.

Town officials tried to prevent the release of the recordings. The state Freedom of Information Commission ordered calls placed from inside the school to be made public.

“The release of the tapes will create a new layer of pain for many in the Newtown community,” Patricia Llodra, the town’s first selectman, said in a statement. “Imagine yourself as a parent of a child who was killed, or a family member of one of the six educators. Imagine yourself as a teacher or staff member in that building desperate to save the lives of children.”

Seven audio files were released, two of which were identical.

On one, a woman who described herself as a teacher said she was shot in the foot. The 911 operator told her to apply pressure to the wound.

“There's children in this room,” the teacher said, sighing heavily.

“Are you OK right now?” the operator asks.

“For now, hopefully,” the teacher said.

Another caller, custodian Rick Thorne, seemed to play a key role helping police piece together events early on.

Sounding composed, he told police the gunfire had stopped. More shots ring out moments later.

“There’s still shooting going on, please,” Mr. Thorne said, sounding more urgent.

On another call, he is heard identifying himself as a custodian to arriving officers. He then replays information between those officers and the operator, repeating their questions and answers to each other.

Last week, State’s Attorney Stephen Sedensky released a report on the Newtown massacre that concluded Lanza had acted alone, and that his motivation for the attack “may never be answered.”

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