Dial 9-1-1 and Wait...
by Robert A. Waters
It's 2:20 A. M., on April 22, 2019. A 38-year-old homeowner dials the King County, Washington emergency services. The resident, never identified by cops, has called to report that someone broke out a window and entered his home. He tells the dispatcher he’s hiding in his upstairs bedroom closet with a handgun. During much of the conversation, the terrified homeowner speaks in a near-whisper. In the background, loud crashing noises can be heard as the intruder overturns furniture and empties drawers.
The call lasts for 12 minutes. During that time, the dispatcher continually assures the resident that officers will be there soon. At the four-minute mark, as officers are “still on their way,” a barrage of gunfire is heard. The following is a partial transcript of the call.
Dispatcher: 9-1-1. What are you reporting?
Homeowner: (Labored breathing.) My house is getting robbed…(Inaudible.)
Dispatcher: What address are you at?
Homeowner: (Gives address, later redacted.)
Dispatcher: Do you see someone inside?
Homeowner: Yeah, he’s inside right now.
Dispatcher: Okay, where are you?
Homeowner: In the bedroom.
Dispatcher: Are you armed?
Homeowner: Yeah, I have a gun.
Dispatcher: You’re at the house. Correct?
(Continued crashing sounds.)
Dispatcher: Okay, is that crashing I hear behind you—is that them?
Homeowner: What’s that?
Dispatcher: Is that crashing I hear behind you? Is that them?
Homeowner: Yeah. (Inaudible.)
Dispatcher: Okay. And you’re upstairs?
Homeowner: Please hurry!
Dispatcher: Do you have any further description on…(inaudible), correct?
Homeowner: I don’t.
Dispatcher: What color is your house?
Homeowner: It’s green.
Dispatcher: How many stories?
(The homeowner seems to be getting more nervous as the crashing sounds move closer. His breathing seems shallower, and his voice is close to a whisper.)
Dispatcher: Okay. How many vehicles should be in front?
Homeowner: I don’t know. I…
Dispatcher: Okay. What’s the color of your vehicle?
Homeowner: It’s a red truck.
Dispatcher: Okay. You have any other vehicles there, right?
Homeowner: Hyundai. Silver Hyundai.
Dispatcher: Okay. You’re sure there’s no other vehicles there, right?
Homeowner: (Inaudible.) Silver Hyundai.
Dispatcher: Bear with me. Got officers on the way. Okay? Do you live with anyone else?
Homeowner: No. I’m by myself.
(Crashing sounds are getting much closer.)
Dispatcher: Are you able…Do they know you’re there?
Homeowner: (Whispering. Unintelligible.)
Dispatcher: Okay. Stay quiet, okay? Keep yourself safe.
(All is silent for more than 30 seconds, except for the dispatcher typing and the crashing sounds. Officers still have not arrived after nearly three minutes. The homeowner seems reluctant to speak as he senses the intruder getting closer.)
Dispatcher: (Inaudible…) Stay with me.
Homeowner: (Whispering. Inaudible.)
Dispatcher: He just broke out a window? (Pause.) Okay. We’ve got officers on the way, okay? Can you tell how many people are there?
Dispatcher: Okay. Can you still hear them?
Dispatcher: Is your door locked?
(Four minutes into the call, cops have not arrived.)
(Suddenly, five loud, echoing gunshots ring out. These are followed by a moment of silence, then three more shots.)
Dispatcher: Oh my God!
(A man is moaning.)
Dispatcher: Can you hear me?
(For nearly two minutes the homeowner is silent. There are moans. The dispatcher continues to try to contact the resident.)
Dispatcher: Can you hear me?
Homeowner: Where are you?
Dispatcher: Okay. We’ve got officers coming… What’s going on? What happened? Hello… If you can hear me, I need you to talk to me. I need to know what’s going on.
Homeowner: He came after me. I had to shoot him. I’m hiding in my closet in the bedroom. Please hurry, I’m all alone…
The call lasts for another seven minutes as the dispatcher and the homeowner sort out what happened. Later in the call, the resident is instructed on what to do when law enforcement officers arrive. The homeowner is told to unload his gun and put it in a safe place. He is told that when he hears police to go out the “west” (front) door and let the officers see his hands. The resident agrees.
The suspect, identified as Joseph L. Anderson, died at the scene of multiple gunshot wounds. No other suspects were found.
The homeowner was not charged with any crime.
You can listen to the entire call at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k25xA4c85F4&t=347s
If you wish to read more exciting and inspiring self-defense stories, buy my latest book, co-written with my son, Sim Waters. Guns and Self-Defense: 23 Inspiring True Crime Stories of Survival with Firearmsis available at Amazon.com. We used police reports, interviews with victims, court documents, media sources and other public records to accurately describe 23 chilling stories of armed self-defense.