A Seattle homeowner fatally shot an intruder April 22 during a tense call with 911, according to audio released Wednesday.
The 12-minute call started around 2:40 a.m. when the homeowner said he contacted 911 after hearing a window break in his home in the White Center neighborhood of Seattle, according to ABC7, which obtained the 911 audio.
The homeowner whispered to the 911 operator from inside his closet as a burglar or burglars — it was unclear at the time — rummaged through his home.
“Are you armed?” the operator asked.
“Yeah, I have a gun,” the homeowner responded.
After about four minutes, shots rang out on the call as the homeowner fired several rounds at the intruder, who could be heard moaning in the background later.
“I heard shots, what happened?” the operator asked.
“I had to shoot him. He came after me,” said the homeowner.View image on Twitter
Police found the intruder dead and discovered he was unarmed.
“It was definitely nerve-wracking, but I think at the end of the day, training kind of kicked in,” said the 911 operator, Zoe Birkbeck, in an interview with KIRO Radio.
After the shooting, she walked the homeowner through unloading his handgun, locking it in the closet away from the wounded intruder, and exiting his home to present himself to police officers.
“You don’t want someone spring out of that house, for the caller’s safety, for the officers’ safety,” said Birkbeck, who said she was trying to keep the homeowner from running out of the house.
“So in that moment, where that fear and that relief is coming out of the caller and he’s trying to get out of there as fast as he can, in my opinion, to go, ‘Okay, we’re going to do this together,’ it will calm him down, it will slow him down, and it will hopefully eliminate any possible mistakes.”
Police praised Birkbeck, who just joined the 911 operations a few weeks before, for her calm demeanor during the ordeal, according to KIRO.
The King County Sheriff’s office announced it will not seek charges against the homeowner, because he acted in self-defense.
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