The Pasco County Sheriff’s Office today released one of the 911 calls made from the fatal shooting at the Cobb Theater in Wesley Chapel on Jan. 13 that includes a nervous male caller who said the shooter was sitting right behind him and still armed.
(NOTE: The audio may contain graphic content).
During the call, frantic efforts can be heard to keep the victim, Chad Oulson, 43, of Land O’ Lakes, alive.
At one point, a woman comes on the phone and asks why an emergency crew hasn’t arrived.
“Where are they?” she asked. “The pulse is really slow.”
The original caller, a man who said he was a nurse, told the 911 call taker that he was “trying to make sure this guy stays with us.”
That man also was clearly nervous when the dispatcher asked him if he could give a description of the shooter, who the man had said was still in the theater.
There was a pause, and the man said, “He’s right behind me.”
The dispatcher then told him to simply answer “yes” or “no” to questions, one of which was did the shooter still have the gun.
“Yes,” the man said.
At different times during the recording, people can be heard talking about chest compressions and at one point someone said, “Come on, come on, buddy, breathe.”
Oulson was fatally shot after a confrontation when Curtis Reeves, a former Tampa Police captain, asked him to stop texting during previews before the start of the movie “Lone Survivor,” deputies said. Friends said Oulson was checking on his 22-month-daughter, Alexis, who was ill and with a babysitter.
An off-duty Sumter County sheriff’s deputy eventually secured the gun and detained Reeves until Pasco deputies were in the theater.
On Thursday, Oulson’s widow, Nicole Oulson, who was shot in the hand by the same bullet that killed her husband, said she wants Reeves to spend the rest of his life in prison during an interview on ABC’s “Good Morning America.”
Dona Fernandes, the public safety communications director for Pasco County, said about 50 911 calls came in during an 11-minute period that day, with about 30 of those calls related to the theater shooting.
The 11-minute, 27-second call on the tape released today was answered by one of the call takers who handle ambulance calls, she said, but was transferred to someone who deals with law enforcement calls after an ambulance was dispatched.
There was a 45-second delay before the second call taker picked up the transfer because he was handling one of the other calls, Fernandes said.
The county released a statement later in the day saying that, despite the delay in the transfer of that call, it did not affect the arrival time of emergency crews because they had already been dispatched before the transfer happened.
Fernandes said seven call takers were on duty at the time, which is a full staff.
The first 911 call was received at 1:29 p.m. that day, according to a timeline distributed by the sheriff’s office, and fire/rescue units were at the theater about four minutes later.
The ambulance crews didn’t enter the theater immediately, though, because the gunman was still inside, said Kevin Doll, a spokesman for the sheriff’s office.
“They are not going to go right in until the deputies tell them it is okay to go in,” he said.
The other 911 calls aren’t being released because detectives are still reviewing them, Doll said.
Sheriff Chris Nocco was not made available to discuss the 911 call, and the sheriff’s office referred most of the questions about the call to Fernandes because her department now handles all the emergency calls that come into the center.
On Oct. 1, the sheriff’s communications section and the Pasco County Emergency Communications Division merged into one agency now called the Pasco County Public Safety Communications Department.
The county statement released Friday afternoon said that cross training of personnel is ongoing, but not yet complete. This means there will continue to be instances when there is a need to transfer callers from one discipline to another -- law enforcement to fire/EMS -- to fully render assistance, the statement said.
Regardless, emergency personnel are dispatched while the call is still being handled, the statement said. Once the cross training is complete, there will be no need to transfer calls as all emergency operators will be completely cross trained.