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911 calls from in house, outside reflected horror of killing spree
Seattle Times staff reporter
"Gunshots, gunshots, gunshots!" a neighbor yelled into the phone.
Another woman, hiding somewhere in the living room of a Capitol Hill rental house where a gunman had opened fire on a group of young partygoers, whispered so low the 911 dispatcher could barely hear her.
"I can't talk right now," she said, her tone low and scared. Seconds ticked by. The dispatcher asked, "Is the person still in the room with you?"
Her reply: "I don't think so. I'm afraid to look."
Capitol Hill tragedy
Seattle police on Thursday released recordings of more than an hour of 911 calls and police radio transmissions recorded just after 7 a.m. Saturday when Kyle Huff, 28, opened fire at the Capitol Hill home.
Fourteen people called 911 in the first seven minutes after Huff began a killing spree that claimed six victims and injured two others. Huff then shot himself when the first officer arrived at the blue-gray house at 2112 E. Republican St.
The frantic calls from neighbors and witnesses — those who managed to run out of the house and those still trapped inside — provide a chilling blow-by-blow of events, from the first caller who thought she might have heard fireworks to people reporting a growing number of victims as the minutes passed by.
"People are screaming and I keep hearing the firing of a weapon," said a neighbor who called 911 at 7:02 a.m.
"Ma'am, you need to calm down a little bit," the dispatcher is heard telling her.
Later, the neighbor tells the dispatcher, "within the first three shots there was screaming, then nothing. Then more shots, more shots, then nothing ... "
The longest 911 call came from the basement of the house, where one of six roommates was on a cellphone, hiding in a closet or small room with two other men. For nearly 10 minutes, the dispatcher stayed on the phone with the young man, calming him and urging him to stay put.
"I heard a bunch of gunshots ... there are at least four or five people who are shot — at least. ... There was another gunshot.
"I'm hiding ... in the basement. I can't see anything. I don't know if anyone is talking to any other operators — I sure as hell hope so," he said.
The dispatcher told him police had already received multiple calls. "Oh my gosh, OK," the dispatcher whispered.
"Oh God, I'm kind of drunk and this is really freaking me out," the caller said. Moments later, he said, "Oh my God, I hope I don't have a heart attack. My dad died so ... young because of a heart attack and my heart is going ... "
Before he had a chance to finish his sentence, someone is heard yelling in the background: "Seattle police!"
William Lowe, who lives across the street from the house, called 911 at 7:04 a.m. and was on the phone with a dispatcher when Officer Steve Leonard arrived at the house.
"Your police officer is pulling up," Lowe told the dispatcher. "Your officer is down ... "
"Is my officer injured?" the dispatcher asked.
"There's a man standing on his ... ooooh, he just shot himself in the face — the man with the shotgun stepped out of the door and just put the gun to his face and shot himself."
"Are any officers injured?" the dispatcher asked.
"No, the officer just saw it," Lowe replied.
"Radio," the dispatcher said at 7:06 a.m., "the suspect just shot himself in the face."
Sara Jean Green: 206-515-5654 or firstname.lastname@example.org
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