9-1-1 tapes released from West Memphis shootout

By Brandi Hodges - bio | email

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) – Almost two months ago two police officers from West Memphis were gunned down on a traffic stop.  The prosecuting attorney released the 911 tapes on Friday, along with other calls for help, of that fateful day in May.

"I'm at the exit.  They're right in front of me about 100 feet," said one man that called into 911.

Minutes after a traffic stop turned deadly the 911 caller begs officers to hurry.

"They killed both cops.  They shot one and the other one was hiding behind the car and then they found him," said the 911 caller.

Some of this information is already out there but now we hear the callers and the desperation in their voices.  Prosecuting Attorney Mike Walden said he feels it is important to get this information out for the public.

"I think it's difficult for the families of the people involved.  It's difficult for me as a member of the law enforcement community because all this is painful," said Walden.

Following the shooting, folks joined police in the search for the suspects calling in tips.

"Were the suspects east bound?" said the dispatcher.  "It looks like they were eastbound.  They went to the stop sign and I didn't see them anymore," said the 911 caller.

For the next 15 20 minutes calls poured into the 911 center leading officers to the West Memphis Wal-Mart.

"I heard that you all were looking for a white van from something that just happened there's a white van sitting here in the parking lot at Wal-Mart," said another 911 caller.

"I believe the accurate information on these things we've released really showed that law enforcement acted properly and officers involved acted properly bravely and heroically," said Walden.

Walden said there have been accusations that some video was made up and that actors were used things Walden said are all untrue!  The sound on the tapes appears to prove that.

"There have been shots fired!  Shots fired at Wal-Mart," said one of the officers at the scene.

Another officer, taking fire at the time said, "All units we're taking assault rifle fire."

"We need an ambulance.  We've got an officer shot!  Officer shot!  We need two ambulances! We've got two officers shot," said an officer.

Crittenden County Sheriff Dick Busby and his deputy W.A. Wren were both injured.

"It's a community that is bonded together by the fact that they have to go through things that most of us never have to experience and they're doing it all for our benefit," said Walden.

It's a community that will keep that bond.  Walden said the Prosecuting Attorney's office is still waiting on information from the Arkansas State Crime Lab and from the FBI.  The investigation could remain open for several more months.

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