Oldham Co. dispatcher recalls calming shooting victim during 911 call


by Joe Anorld


Posted on June 12, 2013 at 7:56 PM

Updated Wednesday, Jun 12 at 8:01 PM

OLDHAM COUNTY, Ky. (WHAS11) -- LAGRANGE, Ky. (WHAS11) -- A 911 dispatcher on the line when a caller was shot says training kicked in as she gathered critical information while calming the victim.

"I think she thought she was going to die," Sandy Parnell, the 911 operator, said.  "She really did. She thought these were her last moments. She was going to die."

On one end of the 911 call, a woman fearing for her life, bleeding profusely after her husband shot her as she called for help.

On the other end of the 911 call, one of about 25,000 taken by Oldham County dispatch each year was Sandy Parnell.

Parnell: What’s going on there, hon?
Woman: My husband just came at me, yanked the phone from me because I was trying to call you all when he just threatened to put me on my a**.  He hadn’t touched me, but this happened in front of my 3-year-old daughter.

Parnell was on the line when the woman was shot. After an excruciating 45 seconds of terrified screaming by the victim, the dispatcher is able to gather crucial information -- the husband used a pistol, the woman is bleeding badly from her arm, there are children in the home.

Woman: Help!
Parnell: Ma’am, can you tell me what’s going on there?
Woman: My husband just shot me.
Parnell: He shot you?
Woman: “Yes! I can’t feel my hand!”

"I try to empathize with the caller," Parnell said Wednesday afternoon as she prepared for her eight-hour shift.  "I try to consider their situation.  And at the same time get that vital information that we need in order to help them. If that were my family or myself, I would like to think that the person answering the call would be empathetic to whatever the situation is."

"I understand sweetheart," Parnell reassured the woman during the 911 call.  "It’s going to be okay. We are going to get them there, I promise you. Just stay on the phone with me, okay. Don’t hang up."