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The 911 recordings for the tragic school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut have been released today in compliance with a court order on the matter.

ABC
The 911 calls from the Newtown school massacre must be made public because there is a “clear public interest” in the recordings a Connecticut judge ruled today in a blow to the relatives of victims who had fought to keep them sealed.

Connecticut’s Freedom of Information Commission had approved the release of the calls but Danbury State’s Attorney Steven Sedensky asked for a stay. Judge Eliot Prescott has given Sedensky time to pursue an additional appeal, but said the calls should be released by Dec. 4.

The judge, who listened to the recordings prior to making his decision, conceded the public airing of the 911 calls “will likely be a searing reminder of the horror and pain of that awful day,” but he said delaying their release would not “ameliorate the pain.”

“Release of the audio recordings will assist the public in gauging the appropriateness of law enforcement’s response,” Prescott wrote. “In fact, public analysis of the recordings may serve to vindicate and support the professionalism and bravery of the first responders on Dec. 14, 2012.”

Play audio:

Download Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting 911 audio (Right Click and Save Link As)

The argument over whether the release was appropriate, if there is a public concern and the possible media frenzy that would ensue will drag on, but it is clear that there is not an environment friendly to the release of more material on the case. This is merely a continuation of the same argument by numerous groups of people who are unwilling to discuss simple discrepancies in the version of events laid out by authorities which are in conflict with observed and documented evidence.

Chicago Tribune
The town has intended for the 911 recordings to be the final release of evidence from the case. Other phone calls and crime scene photographs exist but have been sealed by state officials

For extensive info on the Sandy Hook shootings, read more at our Newtown page.

Associated Press Pushes For The Release of the Calls

Fox News
On the day of the shooting, the AP requested 911 calls and police reports, as it and other news organizations routinely do in their newsgathering.

Newtown’s police department effectively ignored the AP’s request for months until the news cooperative appealed to the state’s Freedom of Information Commission, which said in September that the recordings should be released.

The prosecutor in charge of the Newtown investigation, State’s Attorney Stephen Sedensky III, had argued that releasing the tapes could cause pain for the victims’ families, hurt the investigation, subject witnesses to harassment and violate the rights of survivors who deserve special protection as victims of child abuse.

A state judge dismissed those arguments last week and ordered the tapes be released Wednesday unless the state appealed.

“Release of the audio recordings will also allow the public to consider and weigh what improvements, if any, should be made to law enforcement’s response to such incidents,” Superior Court Judge Eliot Prescott said.

“Delaying the release of the audio recordings, particularly where the legal justification to keep them confidential is lacking, only serves to fuel speculation about and undermine confidence in our law enforcement officials.”

Time discrepancies

One reason many were interested in hearing the 911 calls is because the timeline as it relates to the official story is at odds with other points of time-marked info and common police procedure.

Newtown police officers arrived at the school within four minutes of the first 911 call, but nearly six minutes passed before they entered the building as they sorted out concerns over a possible second shooter, according to a prosecutor’s report issued last week.

It’s not clear whether the delay made a difference because Lanza killed himself one minute after the first officer arrived on the scene, according to the report.

In one of the recordings released Wednesday, dispatchers were heard making calls to Connecticut state police that apparently rang unanswered. One of the three unanswered calls rang for at least 50 seconds. State police picked up on a fourth call.

But state police had already been dispatched to the school by the time those calls were made, according to a timeline and call log supplied by Newtown officials.

ABC News’ Partial Transcript

ABC
Below is a partial transcript of the calls:

One of the first calls received by 911 dispatchers was a woman who was panting and on the verge of tears.

“Sandy Hook School. I think there’s somebody shooting in here, Sandy Hook School,” she said.

The woman said she believed someone was shooting in the school “Because somebody saw a gun…I saw a glimpse of somebody. They’re running down the hallway…They’re still shooting. Sandy Hook School, please.”

A female teacher told the dispatcher it sounded like there were gunshots in the hallway. She was in her classroom with all of her students.

“The door is not locked yet,” she said. “I have to go lock the door.”

“Keep everybody clam,” the dispatcher instructed. “Keep everybody down. Get everybody away from the windows.”

The teacher said her classroom was on the left after walking in the front entrance.

A man who identified himself as Rick and is believed to be school custodian Rick Thorne is heard on the calls several times.

“I believe there’s shooting at the front glass,” he said. “Something is going on.”

The man said he was down the corridor and the dispatcher told him to take cover.

“The front glass is all shot out. It kept going on…it’s still happening,” he said. “Everything’s locked up, as far as I know.”

When asked if he could hear anything, the man said, “I keep hearing shooting. I keep hearing popping.”

After a break, Rick continues speaking with the dispatcher.

“Something’s happening,” he said. “Now it’s silent.”

At one point, the custodian said, “All doors are locked, kids are in classrooms.”

“There’s still shooting going on. Please,” he said.

A woman called police to say she was shot in the foot.

The woman calmly told the dispatcher she was in room number one facing the playground. “My classroom door is not locked,” she added.

“There are two other adults in the room with me,” she said. “They’re over on the other side of the bookshelf.” She also said there were children in the room.

When asked if she was okay, the woman said, “For now, hopefully.”

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