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Digging into the 911 calls after a man opened fire at an Alexandria gas station

Published: Dec. 1, 2021 at 6:35 PM CST
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ALEXANDRIA, La. (KALB) - On Tuesday (Nov. 30), a man opened fire at the Valero gas station on Jackson Street. It happened just before 7 p.m., just as many families were headed home from work on a busy stretch of road filled with cars.

KALB obtained the 911 calls from the incident. In those, you can hear the fear in the voices of the callers as they witnessed the man pull into the parking lot and start shooting:

According to the Alexandria Police Department, shortly before 7 p.m., officers were called out to the gas station. After talking with witnesses, they learned a Black male wearing a white hoodie fired several shots before driving away.

Bullets hit at least two vehicles and possibly a third, which they said drove off before APD got to the scene. Fortunately, no one was hurt. The shooter left the parking lot driving what appeared to be a four-door, white sedan. Investigators don’t know the make or model.

KALB spoke with Katlyn Ann Russo, who said she witnessed the shooting.

“I heard the first shot, and I knew exactly what that was. So, I looked over and he was just waving this AR-15 in one hand, just shooting haphazardly everywhere,” Russo said.

Russo claims it took over four minutes for an operator at 911 to answer. KALB reached out to the Rapides Parish 911 Center to try to get more information about those calls. According to the center, more than ten 911 calls came in about the shooting, most of them just seconds apart from each other. The executive director of the center, Sonya Wiley-Gremillion, explained what happens when that many calls come in at once.

“Once all of our trunk lines busy-out, if we have simultaneous calls going on, if the caller will remain on the line, it rolls to the sheriff’s department,” Wiley-Gremillion said. “So, if a caller stays on the phone, there’s absolutely no reason that they should get a busy line or no one answer because until we lock in on a call or it rolls over to the sheriff’s department, that phone will continue to ring here.”

KALB also reached out to the City of Alexandria on Tuesday night to find out why it took nearly two hours for them to release any details about the incident at the gas station. After multiple attempts, there has been no reply to KALB’s emailed request for information.

Alexandria Police Chief Ronney Howard said there are no new updates on the case, and there is currently no suspect.

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