Did 911 Dispatcher Grasp Urgency of WA Murder-Suicide Call?


A Washington dispatcher is facing criticism in Josh Powell’s decision to kill his young sons and himself in a gasoline-fed inferno after taking a hatchet to the boys, reports the Los Angeles Times. Pierce County Sheriff’s Det. Ed Troyer said Wednesday that he’s displeased at how a 911 dispatcher handled the frantic phone calls from a social worker just before Sunday’s explosion. The worker had taken Charlie, 7, and his brother, Braden, 5, to Powell’s front door; the door was then shut in her face.

The social worker can be heard pleading for help, while the dispatcher at points seems unable to grasp the urgency of the situation. Troyer told the Associated Press that he, like the media, is awaiting an official “call-and-dispatch” log of the incident. But he said the dispatcher’s etiquette during the phone call, which spanned at least six minutes, does not appear to have interfered with response time. The dispatcher alerted emergency responders early in the conversation, Troyer said.

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