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Johnson County dispatchers still processing after Greenwood mass shooting

Posted at 5:34 PM, Jul 21, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-27 14:17:11-04

JOHNSON COUNTY — Just days after the 911 dispatchers who handled the majority of calls as people scrambled for safety during the Greenwood Park Mall mass shooting, WRTV is catching up with them to see how they are processing the events that transpired.

Dispatcher Amber Mercado is still processing what she heard and felt from police and people at the Greenwood Park Mall.

“As a dispatcher, nothing prepares you for that moment,” Mercado said. “I remember just thinking, I have not lost an officer and I am not losing one tonight.”

Mercado is part of the Johnson County 911 Communications Center team.

Members of this elite crew have not missed one day since taking those 911 calls on Sunday involving the active shooter inside the mall.

The frantic calls of people seeking shelter and help came to this center.

“You could just feel the commotion in the background,” Mercado said. “(There were) people screaming. I pulled up the mall map almost immediately and began documenting my call notes. Noting what stores had what victims and where the shooter was last seen and the description of the shooter. Then I just got that to officers as quick as possible.”

Veronica Powell, Alexis Derbique, Angela Mariner and Matthew Oakley were among the 911 dispatchers that kept people calm during the mass shooting.

“I still have a little bit of anxiety,” Mercado said. “I’ve replayed it in my head a million times. I’ve spent the past couple of days with my family and trying not to think about work, but it is hard. It is part of being a dispatcher. It is part of who I am, and I love what I do. In that moment, I don’t think I have ever been more proud to be a dispatcher.”

The 911 center received 98 calls between 5:45 p.m. and 6:15 p.m. All rollover calls were handled by the Bartholomew County 911 Center.

To hear some of the 911 calls received during the shooting, WRTV has written a story that includes the link to listen.

Real-Time Editor James Howell Jr. contributed to this story.