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Home > Topics > Fire-EMS

Dispatcher praised for getting gunman to surrender

The dispatcher and crisis negotiator convinced the gunman to surrender in part through their calm demeanor

The Associated Press

PASADENA, Calif. — Police are praising a dispatcher and crisis negotiator for persuading a gunman to surrender after he allegedly shot and killed three people in a Southern California neighborhood, wounded two others and fired on officers.

John Izeal Smith, 35, is suspected of killing a woman Saturday inside a Pasadena house, then killing two men outside and firing at officers before holing up back inside the house where the violence began.

Smith surrendered after a tense, 20-minute call to the dispatcher who was assisted by a crisis negotiator, Police Chief Phillip Sanchez said in a statement Sunday.

"The suspect willfully murdered and injured innocent people without warning as he fired more than 40 rounds from a semi-automatic rifle," Sanchez said. "However, the courage of our dispatchers, police officers, firefighters and community members who valiantly tried to help the victims is impressive and speaks to the resolve of our community."

The statement said the dispatcher and crisis negotiator convinced the gunman to surrender in part through their calm demeanor. Officials planned to release a recording of the 911 call on Monday.

The woman killed in the house was identified as 59-year-old Maria Teresa Aguiar. The identities of the two men have not been released pending notification of family, the Los Angeles County Coroner's office said.

Two others suffered minor to moderate injuries.

Police said the shooting may have something to do with landlord-tenant dispute, but Aguiar's brother told KCAL-TV the shooting was a case of domestic violence. Carlos Aguiar said Smith was his sister's live-in boyfriend.

Associated PressCopyright 2013 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Officers who responded to the scene came under heavy attack as they approached one of the vic

Comments
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MONOC - New Jersey's Hospital Service Corporation MONOC - New Jersey's Hospital Service Corporation Tuesday, July 15, 2014 6:13:29 AM A tragic situation mitigated by the skill of a communications professional. Strong work by the often overlooked part of the system.
Diana Sprain Diana Sprain Thursday, July 17, 2014 8:58:57 AM Awesome job by the Public Safety Telecommunicator! I've said it before and I'll say it again: dispatchers make GREAT negotiators. We talk to people as part of our job and convince callers to step outside, tell subjects to put down weapons, not kill themselves, let potential hostages go, and we multi task every shift. I've done all of these tasks throughout my career, so I know the reality. Any call can go bad very quickly. Having trained dispatchers makes the difference.

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