Marshall County dispatcher recounts the 911 calls the morning of shooting

Dispatcher recalls Marshall County shooting
Updated: Jan. 31, 2018 at 6:16 PM CST
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MARSHALL COUNTY, KY (KFVS) - Many say this was the worst incident in the history of Marshall County, Kentucky. One woman, heard the panic first hand from the many people that called 911 at the time when a 15-year-old male student opened fire at the Marshall County High School killing two people and injuring 16 others.

It was the worst nightmare for many, including Marshall County E-911 Dispatcher Maranda Hanson and her co-worker who fielded many of these calls.

"I handled the first radio traffic we got from the school resource officer while she was handling the first call," Hanson explained. "And then they just poured in. Immediately there were hundreds of calls, back to back."

Hanson said she could have easily been distracted from doing her job as the panicked people called in. She had to stay strong and focus on helping everyone she could.

"You know what you have to do," Hanson said. "You know you have to step in and do your job. Your job saves people. Being on that end of the line I'm relaying things to law enforcement and EMS and everybody else. I am their eyes and ears to what's going on, on the inside."

Hanson also has a step-daughter who is a Junior at that high school. That was one of the things that was at the forefront of her mind as she answered each frantic call.

"I was terrified that each call that I was taking was going to be her," Hanson said followed by a deep breath. "It was very scary."

Unbeknownst to Hanson at the time, her daughter called in sick that day. Not long after the calls started coming through, she received a text from her husband telling her she is okay.

"Luckily she wasn't there that day. She was homesick," Hanson said. "I rested a little bit easier knowing she wasn't there but I was still scared for other people, for the other kids and what was going on."

For Hanson, the day continued with calls. Hundreds of 911 calls as she recalled.

"It was very crazy," Hanson remembered. "Twelve minutes felt like twelve hours. And the calls didn't stop after twelve minutes. We had calls for hours and hours after that."

Hanson said it was a team effort from everyone to get the job done no matter what personal reasons they had to endure in their own minds during this tragedy.

"Every time that 911 line rings, my heart drops," Hanson said. "I've been doing this for about 10 years now and I've had some bad calls, but this one, this one has really made a difference."

After the day was over, she was given the option to take off the next day. She overcame her own reasons to stay home and opted to come in and help out however she could.

"If I didn't come in and get over that fear, that I may not come back," Hanson added. " So I came in and it was hard, scary and it was emotional. But we did it. All of us did it together. We have great support here."

It's the support from her coworkers, her community, and everywhere else from the local area, their state and the nation that has helped her get through this.

"It's so incredible to see the support and you feel it, Hanson added. "You don't just see it, you feel all the love from everybody, everywhere, all over the place."

It's why she wanted to help support others as well.

Hanson received a call from a family friend who had a son that was classmates and friends with Bailey. Bailey is one of two 15-year-old students who died in the shooting.

Hanson was asked if she could help provide some handcrafted items. Something she felt she could at least do to help out these families.

One of those items being a ceramic tile with Bailey's picture on it and an inspirational quote.

"They had given me what they wanted to go on there so I was able to trace it and cut it out with my machine and put it on there for her," Hanson said.

Other items being a pillow and light boxes.

"It's not much," Hanson said. "I know it's not much but it does help knowing I can give a little peace, a little bit of comfort to the families."

For now, Hanson is trying to get back to some normalcy as she tries to adapt to that life-altering event for so many.

"I'm looking forward to everything getting back to normal," Hanson said. "It's a new normal but we are working our way there."

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