ALBANY, N.Y. — Authorities are still trying to piece together exactly why Kurt Myers, the suspected gunman in Herkimer, set fire to his residence and then went on a shooting rampage – killing four people, an FBI dog, and injuring two others before being killed in a shootout with police.
Friday we're hearing what law enforcement heard during the moments of chaos in Herkimer.
You can hear dispatch relaying information to first responders during those tense moments of activity – from the fire to the shootings.
What may surprise many listening to it is just how calm everyone was able to stay under pressure.
Herkimer County Dispatch: “Village of Mohawk, the barber shop. We have two men down, possible explosion”
As the frightening scene continued to unfold outside, Herkimer County dispatchers under intense pressure remained even-toned – communicating clearly to first responders every piece of information they gathered.
Herkimer County Dispatch: “Stage for law enforce we have two males down 318 Mohawk Street – Gaffey's Car Wash.”
A local call center in Albany takes about 10,000 calls every month and everyone here must be prepared for any possibility at any moment.
Marcella Bender has been a Senior Telecommunicator to the Albany County Sheriff's Office for nearly 14 years, and knows during an event like the shootings in Herkimer county – every second counts.
“You're going to have police, fire and EMS responding to that area. Just as much info you can feed the field units to keep them safe and like I said your partners help out tremendously. Everyone in the room is doing something in an incident as large as that,” said Bender.
Bender says it's vital to make sure you keep your composure when on the phone, because that will help keep the caller focused.
“You have to remain calm because you have to get as many clear details as possible. The more specifics that you can get from the caller that you can relay to the responding personnel is very important,” said Bender.
During the tragedy in Herkimer, dispatch can be heard doing just that, relaying information to units while on the line with a witness.
Herkimer County Dispatch: “The male with a gun is coming out of 402 Mohawk Street. States he's entering a vehicle now. What kind of vehicle?”
Bender says a lot of knowing what to ask, and how to ask during a crisis comes from experience – adding unless you do the job – you can't really grasp the stress involved.
She does this job because she says she's helping others.