State investigators today released recordings of five of the 11 calls placed to the Butler County 9-1-1 emergency response system on the morning that Aplington-Parkersburg football coach Ed Thomas was shot to death in the school’s makeshift weight-training room.
A dispatcher was clearly shocked to hear the victim’s name when an employee of the school, Daryl Myers, relayed the information.
"We had a shooting right now in the bus barn down at the high school," Myers said. The dispatcher replied, "Do you know who it was?" Myers reported that kids were running out and said that someone shot Ed Thomas. "Ed Tho-" the dispatcher said and then composed herself, "All right, we’ll get someone right there."
The shooting, witnessed by around 20 students, took place at 7:47 a.m on June 24th. At 7:56 a.m., Leah Vanderholt called 9-1-1 from a home across the street from the school and was concerned with the lack of medical response. "We can see the building right now and all we see is the police Blazer. We don’t see any ambulances. We don’t see anything," Vanderholt said. The dispatcher replied, "The ambulance is on the way right now. They had a hard time getting a crew. But they are on the way, we also have paramedics that have been in route for about 10 minutes."
The other three tapes released today contained little information, except Parkersburg Police Chief Chris Luhring asking about a helicopter that was on its way from a Waterloo Hospital. Authorities say they are not releasing six other 9-1-1 tapes because they contain "information that is part of the ongoing criminal investigation."
A former Aplington-Parkersburg football player, 24-year-old Mark Becker, was arrested shortly after the shooting and charged with first-degree murder. Becker pleaded not guilty last week. His trial is scheduled for September 15th.